Brussels, 7 February 2014
Future of Europe: Vice-President Viviane Reding to hold public debate in London
The future of Europe, citizens' rights and the recovery from the economic crisis are among topics to be discussed at the 44th Citizens' Dialogue (see Annex) with European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding, UK Europe Minister David Lidington and around 400 people in London which will take place on 10 February 2014.
"As the European Parliament elections in May draw near, it is more important than ever to engage with citizens and hold a frank discussion about Europe, what it means today and what it should mean tomorrow," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, speaking ahead of the debate. "Now celebrating 40 years inside the European Union, the Winston Churchills, Harold Wilsons and a line of UK politicians on both sides of the political spectrum have long recognised that Europe is far from being confined to the continent. I hope that the UK, and the citizens I will meet in London on Monday, will be strong participants in the debates about Europe’s future."
The debate will take place on Monday, February 10th at 14.00 to 15.45 GMT (15:00 to 16:45 CET) at the Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle Street, London W1. Citizens from all over the United Kingdom can participate in the London event, moderated by Financial Times Political Editor, George Parker.
The event can be watched live via webstream while citizens from all over Europe can also participate via Facebook and Twitter by using the hashtag #EUDeb8.
What are the Citizens' Dialogues about?
In January 2013, the European Commission kicked off the European Year of Citizens (IP/13/2), a year dedicated to citizens and their rights. Throughout that year and now in the year of the European Parliament elections, members of the Commission have been holding debates with citizens about their expectations for the future, in Citizens' Dialogues all over the EU.
So far, 43 Citizens’ Dialogues have taken place across the European Union, with at least one Commissioner present on each occasion. A total of more than 47 such meetings are planned (see annex), attended by national and European politicians.
All of the dialogues can be followed here: http://ec.europa.eu/debate-future-europe
A recent Eurobarometer opinion poll shows that 42% of Britons feel that they are citizens of the EU (59 % on average for citizens in all member states). Only 34% say that they know what rights EU citizenship brings, while 48% of Britons would like to know more about their rights as EU citizens.
The Citizens' Dialogues are part of the Commission's efforts to address these issues.
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 offering many differing opinions on which direction it should take. Giving citizens a direct voice in this debate is essential. When asked whether "their voice counts" in the European Union only 19% of Britons said it did, compared to 29% of Europeans as a whole. Listening to the voices of British people and those of the public across Europe 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 in May.
On 8 May 2013, the European Commission published its second EU Citizenship Report, which puts forward 12 new concrete measures to solve citizens' problems (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 London Citizens' 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:
Follow the Vice-President on Twitter: @VivianeRedingEU
European Commission Representation in London
1. The debate on Europe's future continues…
Mayor of Cádiz Teófila Martínez Saíz
Austrian Vice-Chancellor/Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger
German Member of European Parliament Dagmar Roth-Behrendt
Mayor of Naples Luigi de Magistris
President Barroso/ Vice-President Reding
Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore / Irish European Affairs Minister Lucinda Creighton
Mayor of Turin Piero Fassino
Mayor of Coimbra João Paulo Barbosa de Melo, Mayor of Esch-sur-Alzette Lydia Mutsch (video link), Luxembourgish Member of Parliament Felix Braz
Mayor of Rome Gianni Alemanno
Mayor of Thessaloniki Yiannis Boutaris
Mayor of Pisa Marco Filippeschi
Commissioner De Gucht
Mayor of Ghent Daniël Termont / Belgian Member of Parliament Geert Versnick
Belgian MEP Mathieu Grosch/Begian Minister-President of the German Community Karl-Heinz Lambertz
Minister-President of the Brussels region Charles Picqué / Belgian Member of European Parliament Marc Tarabella
German Member of European Parliament Jürgen Klute / Chairman of "Committee on Europe and a Single World" Nicolaus Kern / Spokespersons of the North Rhine-Westphalia Parliament on European issues – Ilka Freifrau von Boeselager, Stefan Engstfeld, Markus Töns and Dr Ingo Wolf
Irish Minister for Trade John Perry/Chairman of the Czech Parliament's European Affairs Committee Jan Bauer / Czech Members of the European Parliament Jan Březina and Libor Rouček / Deputy State Secretary for European Affairs Martin Tlapa
Mayor of Ventotene Giuseppe Assenso
Mayor of Milan Giuliano Pisapia
Luxembourgish MEP Charles Goerens / Luxembourg Member of Parliament Félix Braz / Wallonian Regional Minister Benoit Lutgen / Luxembourg Minister for Labour and Employment Nicolas Schmit
President Barroso / Vice-President Reding
Polish Member of European Parliament Róża Thun / Former Prime Minister Tadeusz Masowiecki
Governor of the Crete region Stavros Arnaoutakis / Greek Member of Parliament Spyros Danellis / Mayor of Heraklion Giannis Kourakis
Baden Wüttemberg Minister-President Winfred Kretschmann
Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev
Minister-President of Wallonia Rudi Demotte
Vice-Presidents Rehn / Kallas
Italian Minister for European Affairs Enzo Moavero Milanesi
Finnish Member of European Parliament Sirpa Pietikäinen / Finnish MP, Member of the Grand Committee Tuomo Puumala (Centre/ALDE) / Finnish MP, Chair of the Grand Committee, former President of the European Movement in Finland Miapetra Kumpula-Natri (SDP/S&D) / Chairperson of the Young People's Working Group on the Future of the EU Milla Ovaska
Hungarian State Secretary for EU Affairs Enikő Győri and Member of the European Parliametn Csaba Őry.
Slovak Prime Minster Robert Fico
Swedish Minister for EU Affairs Birgitta Ohlsson, Member of European Parliament Olle Ludvigsson and Mayor of Stockholm Sten Nordin
Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs Didier Reynders / Economic Minister for Wallonia Jean-Claude Marcourt
Latvian Defence Minister Artis Pabriks
French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira
Governor of Burgenland Hans Niessl
Plácido Domingo, opera singer, President of Europa Nostra; Michelangelo Pistoletto, painter, member of the Culture Committee of the “New Narrative for Europe” initiative; Isabelle Durant, Vice-President of the European Parliament (tbc);Paul Dujardin, Director of the Palais des Beaux-Arts (BOZAR), Brussels
David Lidington, Minister of State for Europe