Brussels, 14 October 2013
Future of Europe: Vice-President Viviane Reding to debate with citizens in Stockholm
The future of Europe, citizens' rights and the recovery from the economic crisis are the topics to be discussed at the 33rd Citizens' Dialogue (see Annex) with Vice-President Viviane Reding and 350 citizens in Stockholm. The debate will take place on 15 October and Vice-President Reding will be joined by Swedish Minister for EU Affairs Birgitta Ohlsson, Member of the European Parliament Olle Ludvigsson and Lord Mayor of the City of Stockholm, Margareta Björk.
"Sweden is a world leader in promoting innovation: ABBA, Volvo, Ikea or meatballs - they all originated in Sweden and have become great hits in Europe. But for me, the probably most important Swedish invention is the institution of the ombudsman set up to deal with citizens' complaints. Today the ombudsman has become a central pillar in every democracy giving citizens a voice. I can therefore not imagine a better place to discuss with citizens about how to further strengthen Europe's democratic foundations," said Vice-President Reding, EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. "I am looking forward to hearing the ideas of Swedish citizens and their views and expectations on the future of our Union. Maybe it's time for another Swedish innovation that will be exported to Europe!"
The Citizens' Dialogue will take place in the Stockholm City Hall on Tuesday 15 October from 13:00 to 15:00 CET. It will be moderated by Richard Olsson, a well-known presenter on Swedish national TV and broadcast live on Swedish national TV.
The debate will be interactive with participants using voting devices to share their opinions. Contributions coming in via social media from people who cannot attend the event will also be streamed and discussed. Questions are welcome via Twitter using the hashtag #EUDeb8 and the whole debate can be followed live via webstream on http://www.eu-kommissionen.se/.
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 the year, members of the Commission are holding debates with citizens about their expectations for the future in Citizens' Dialogues all over the EU.
Vice-President Reding has already held debates in Cádiz (Spain), in Graz (Austria), in Berlin (Germany), in Dublin (Ireland), in Coimbra (Portugal), in Thessaloniki (Greece), in Brussels (Belgium) and in Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg), Warsaw (Poland), Heidelberg (Germany), Sofia (Bulgaria), Namur (Belgium), Trieste (Italy) and Helsinki (Finland). Many more Dialogues will take place all over the European Union throughout 2013 and in the first few months of 2014 – which will see European, national and local politicians engaging in a debate with citizens from all walks of life.
Follow all the Dialogues here: http://ec.europa.eu/european-debate.
A lot has been achieved in the twenty years since the introduction of EU Citizenship:
A recent Eurobarometer survey shows that 69% of Swedes feel European (62% on average for EU citizens). However, only 55% say that they know what rights EU citizenship brings. At the same time 75% of Swedes want to know more about their rights as EU citizens.
This is why the Commission has made 2013 the European Year of Citizens, a year dedicated to citizens and their rights. The Citizens' Dialogues are at the heart of this year.
Why is the Commission doing this now?
Because Europe is at a crossroads. The coming months and years will be decisive for the future course of the European Union, with many voices talking about moving towards political union, a Federation of Nation States or a United States of Europe. Furthermore, 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 a major online consultation held from May 2012 (IP/12/461) and the questions raised and suggestions made in Citizens' Dialogues on EU citizens' rights and their future.
For more information:
Further information on the Stockholm Dialogue:
Debates with citizens on the Future of Europe:
European Year of Citizens:
Europeans have their say: Results of the consultation on EU citizens’ rights:
Homepage of Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner:
Site of the representation of the EC in Sweden:
Follow the Vice-President on Twitter: @VivianeRedingEU
To contribute to the debate on Twitter: #EUdeb8
1. Citizens' Dialogues: the debate on Europe's future continues…
2. Three in four Swedes want to know more about their rights
Source: Eurobarometer Standard 79 - May 2013
3. Swedes see peace and freedom of movement as most positive results of EU
Source: Eurobarometer Standard 79 - May 2013