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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 4 October 2013

Future of Europe Debate: Vice-President Šefčovič and Slovak Prime Minister Fico meet citizens in Košice

European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič and Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico are joining forces to hold a Citizens' Dialogue in Košice – European Capital of Culture 2013. The event will be held at the Kunsthalle on Saturday 5 October, involving hundreds of citizens from all walks of life.

This unique conversation between Europe, national politics and citizens is the 32nd in a series of Citizens' Dialogues that European Commissioners are holding across the European Union. These respond to President Barroso's call for "a broad debate all over Europe. A debate of truly European dimensions." Each Dialogue is centred on three themes: Europe's way out of the economic crisis, citizens' rights and the future of Europe.

Vice-President Šefčovič said: "Three in four Slovaks say they feel like EU citizens, but fewer know what this means. That is why I am delighted – as part of the European Year of Citizens – to debate the current state of the EU, what direction we are going in and people's EU rights with Slovak citizens in Košice. I believe that the more Slovak citizens are informed, the more they can engage with the EU and help to shape its future."

According to a recent Eurobarometer survey, three quarters (76%) of Slovaks want to know more about their rights as an EU citizen. Moreover, whilst the same percentage (76%) of Slovaks feel that they are a citizen of the EU, only six in ten (59%) actually know what this means. This is why the European Commission has made 2013 the European Year of Citizens, with the Citizens' Dialogues at the heart of this year.

The debate will take place on Saturday 5 October from 16:00-18:00 at the Kunsthalle, Rumanova 1, Košice. It will be moderated by TV-news anchor Ľubomír Bajaník from Slovak public broadcaster RTVS.

The event can be followed live via webstream. Citizens from all over Europe can participate via Twitter by using the hash tag #EUDeb8. Citizens can also submit comments on debate topics using Facebook.


What are the Citizens' Dialogues about?

In January, the European Commission kicked off the European Year of Citizens (IP/13/2), a year dedicated to citizens and their rights. Throughout this and next year, members of the European Commission, together with national and local politicians and members of the European Parliament will hold debates with citizens about their expectations for the future in Citizens' Dialogues all over the EU.

Recent Dialogues were hosted by Vice-Presidents Rehn and Kallas in Tallinn (Estonia), by Vice-President Reding in Trieste (Italy) and Helsinki (Finland) and by Commissioner Andor in Györ (Hungary). Upcoming Dialogues include Vice-President Reding in Stockholm (Sweden), President Barroso in Liège (Belgium) and Commissioner Piebalgs in Riga (Latvia). Dialogues will continue throughout 2013, into the first few months of 2014 – with European, national and local politicians engaging in a debate with citizens from all walks of life. Follow all the Dialogues here:

Why is the Commission doing this now?

Because Europe is at a crossroads. The future of Europe is the talk of the town – with many voices talking about moving towards political union a Federation of Nation States or a United States of Europe. The coming months and years will be decisive for the future course of the European Union. Further European integration must go hand in hand with strengthening the Union's democratic legitimacy. Giving citizens a direct voice in this debate is therefore more important than ever.

What will be the outcome of the Dialogues?

The feedback from citizens during the Dialogues will help guide the Commission as it draws up plans for a future reform of the EU. One of the main purposes of the Dialogues will also be to prepare the ground for the 2014 European elections.

On 8 May 2013 the European Commission published its second EU Citizenship Report, which puts forward 12 new concrete measures to solve problems citizens still have (IP/13/410 and MEMO/13/409). The Citizens' Report is the Commission's answer to both a major online consultation held from May 2012 (IP/12/461) and the questions and suggestions raised during the Citizens' Dialogues.

For more information

Further information on the Košice Dialogue:

Debates with citizens on the Future of Europe:

European Year of Citizens:

Homepage of Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič

Follow the Vice-President on Twitter: @MarosSefcovic

To contribute to the debate on Facebook: and on Twitter: @ZEKvSR and #EUdeb8


1. Three quarters of Slovaks want to know more about their rights as EU citizens

Source: Eurobarometer Standard 79 - May 2013

2. Slovaks say that G20 and EU best placed to take action against effects of financial and economic crisis

Source: Eurobarometer Standard 79 - May 2013

3. Slovaks view free movement of people and services as most positive result of EU

Source: Eurobarometer Standard 79 - May 2013

Contacts :

Marilyn Carruthers (+32 2 299 94 51)

Antonio Gravili (+32 2 295 43 17)

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