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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 21 March 2014

Future of Europe debate: Pan-European Dialogue in Brussels brings together citizens from all EU countries

After 50 dialogues held in cities in every one of the EU's 28 Member States, the European Commission is inviting over 150 citizens to Brussels for a pan-European debate on Thursday 27 March, in the Commission's Charlemagne Building in Brussels. President José Manuel Barroso will lead a Citizens' Dialogue in the afternoon whilst 10 other Commissioners and Members of the European Parliament will debate with citizens in parallel events held throughout the day. Journalists wishing to attend may register with Joshua.SALSBY@.ec.europa.eu.

"In the debate that is ongoing all across Europe, the bottom-line is: do we want to improve Europe or give it up? My answer is clear: let's get involved! If you don't like Europe as it is, improve it!" said European Commission President Barroso. "With important European elections on the horizon, I want to see a real debate on how the European Union should evolve in the years to come, both economically and politically. A debate which engages every citizen. That is why the Commission will organise a Citizens Dialogue in Brussels next week and why we have been in every EU country debating Europe this and last year."

said Vice-President Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. "For 18 months now, Commissioners have been travelling to every corner of our continent to talk to citizens and listen to their views. What I have seen has been heartening – people are enthusiastic about Europe. Either side of the political divide, people just want Europe to fix their problems. I have every reason to believe that this enthusiasm will manifest itself in a high turnout in the European elections in May 2014."

The European Commission has invited three participants from each of the previous 50 Dialogues to attend, making this the culmination of the Dialogues undertaken since September 2012. The final Citizens' Dialogue with President Barroso will take place from 16:00 – 17:00 CET and can be watched live via webstream. Citizens can get involved in the debate on Facebook and Twitter by using the hashtag #EUdeb8.

A number of theme-oriented Dialogues will take place earlier in the day where 10 members of the European Commission (Vice-Presidents Reding and Rehn and Commissioners Potočnik, Vassiliou, De Gucht, Damanaki, Hahn, Hedegaard, Andor and Mimica) will discuss with smaller groups of citizens (see programme in annex).

The Commission will also publish a report on the experiences from the over 50 Citizens' Dialogues. Some first statistics from this report can be found in the Annex.

Background

What are the Citizens' Dialogues about?

In 2013 the European Commission launched the European Year of Citizens (IP/13/2). From late 2012, throughout the year 2013 and into 2014, the year of the European Parliament elections, members of the European Parliament, the President and 21 members of the Commission have debated with citizens from all over Europe about their expectations for the future.

In over 50 different Dialogues, citizens from all walks of life have discussed with Commissioners, MEPs, national and regional politicians about their views on Europe's role in the future. Find out more here: http://ec.europa.eu/debate-future-europe.

The Dialogues are being undertaken in the framework of the European Year of Citizens (IP/13/2), an initiative aiming to make people more familiar with their rights as EU citizens. Some of the activities associated with this year are continuing into 2014.

Why is the Commission doing this now?

Europe is at a crossroads. The months and years to come will be decisive for the future of the European Union, with many voices offering differing opinions on which direction it should take. Giving citizens a direct voice in this debate is essential. European integration should go hand in hand with reinforcing the Union's democratic legitimacy. Listening to the voices of citizens is therefore more important than ever.

What will be the outcome of the Citizens' Dialogue?

Citizens' reactions will help guide the Commission in the preparation of plans for future reform of the EU. One of the main objectives of these Dialogues is to prepare the ground for the 2014 European elections.

On 8 May 2013 the European Commission published its second Report on EU citizenship, which presents 12 new concrete measures to solve citizens' problems (IP/13/410 and MEMO/13/409). The Report on EU citizenship is the Commission’s answer to a major online consultation held from May 2012 (IP/12/461) and to questions raised and suggestions made in the Citizens' Dialogues on EU citizens' rights and their future.

Further information:

Further information on the Pan-European Dialogue

http://ec.europa.eu/debate-future-europe/citizens-dialogues/belgium/brussels3/index_en.htm

Debates with citizens about the future of Europe:

ec.europa.eu/debate-future-europe

European Year of Citizens:

europa.eu/citizens-2013

Websites of President José Manuel Barroso and Vice-President Viviane Reding

ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/president/index_en.htm

ec.europa.eu/reding

Follow President Barroso on Twitter: @BarrosoEU

Follow Vice-President Reding on Twitter: @VivianeRedingEU

Contacts :

Mina Andreeva (+32 2 299 13 82)

Natasha Bertaud (+32 2 296 74 56)

For the public: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or by e­mail

ANNEX

Annex 1. Programme for the Pan-European Citizens' Dialogue – 27 March, Brussels

(Times all CET)

08:30 Arrival at the Commission’s Visitors’ Centre

09:00 Opening and introduction

50 Citizens’ Dialogues – an overview

10:00 First round of parallel discussions on key themes from Citizens’ Dialogues (in the presence of one Member of the European Parliament [MEP] and representatives of the European Commission)

Overcoming the crisis: solidity and solidarity

Competing on the global stage: strengthening Europe’s regions

Rising to the global challenge: climate change and the environment

Your Europe: Promoting citizens' rights

Addressing everyday concerns: consumer protection for EU citizens (MEP Dagmar Roth-Behrendt

The human factor: lifelong learning, jobs and an inclusive society

11:00 Coffee break

11:30 Second round of parallel discussions on the 6 key themes

14:00 Collecting results of the morning sessions

15:00 Dialogues between citizens and politicians in parallel sessions

Overcoming the crisis: solidity and solidarity (Vice-President Olli Rehn, Commissioner Maria Damanaki)

Competing on the global stage: strengthening Europe’s regions (Commissioners Karel De Gucht and Johannes Hahn)

Rising to the global challenge: climate change and the environment (Commissioners Janez Potočnik and Connie Hedegaard)

Your Europe: promoting citizens’ rights (Vice-President Viviane Reding and the Mayor of Cadiz, Teófila Martínez Saiz (TBC))

Addressing everyday concerns: consumer policy for EU citizens (Commissioner Neven Mimica)

The human factor: lifelong learning, jobs and an inclusive society (Commissioners Androulla Vassiliou and László Andor)

16:00 Dialogue with European Commission President José Manuel Barroso - Future of the Union

17:00 Closing of the event

Annex 2. Key statistics from the report on the Citizens' Dialogues

  • Over 15,000 participants attended a Citizens' Dialogue in person.

  • Around 50,000 people followed the Citizens' Dialogues via websteam.

  • Around 50,000 people posted comments and questions on social media.

  • During the polls conducted during the Citizens' Dialogues, on average:

  • 35% of Europeans said they thought their voice was heard in the EU.

  • 51% thought that Europe would emerge stronger from the crisis.

  • 74% desired a closer political Union.

  • 88% wanted more Citizens' Dialogues.

Annex 3. The debate on Europe's future continues…

Member State

City

Date

Commissioner

EU, national, regional and local politicians

Spain

Cadiz

27/09/2012

Reding

Mayor Martinez Saiz

Austria

Graz

05/11/2012

Reding

Vice-Chancellor Spindelegger

Germany

Berlin

10/11/2012

Reding

MEP Roth-Behrendt

France

Paris

23/11/2012

Reding

Italy

Naples

30/11/2012

Andor

Mayor de Magistris

Ireland

Dublin

10/01/2013

Barroso, Reding

Prime Minister Kenny, Deputy Prime Minister Gilmore, Minister of State for European Affairs Creighton

Sweden

Gothenburg

18/02/2013

Malmström

Italy

Turin

21/02/2013

Malmström

Mayor Fassino

Portugal

Coimbra

22/02/2013

Reding

Italy

Rome

18/03/2013

Tajani

Mayor Alemanno

Greece

Thessaloniki

22/03/2013

Reding

Mayor Boutaris

Italy

Pisa

05/04/2013

Potočnik

Mayor Filippeschi

Belgium

Ghent

12/04/2013

De Gucht

Mayor Termont

Belgium

Eupen

23/04/2013

Hahn

MEP Grosch, Minister-President (German Community) Lambertz

Belgium

Brussels

04/05/2013

Reding

(former) Minister-President of the Brussels region Picqué

Germany

Dusseldorf

08/05/2013

Oettinger

MEP Klute

Slovenia

Ljubljana

09/05/2013

Potočnik

Poland

Warsaw

11/05/2013

Lewandowski

Czech Republic

Prague

13/05/2013

Füle

Minister of State for Small Business (Ireland) Perry, Chairman of the Czech Parliament’s EU Affairs Committee Bauer

Italy

Ventotene

27/05/2013

Tajani

Mayor Assenso

Italy

Milan

07/06/2013

Hedegaard

Mayor Pisapia

Luxembourg

Esch

30/06/2013

Reding

MEP Goerens, Minister for Labour Schmit, MP Braz, Minister of Public Works, Agriculture, Rural Affairs, Patrimony and Nature Policy (Wallonia) Lutgen

Poland

Warsaw

11/07/2013

Barroso, Reding

Prime Minister Tusk, MEP Thun, former Prime Minister Mazowiecki

Greece

Heraklion

12/07/2013

Damanaki

MEP Danellis, Governor Arnaoutakis

Germany

Heidelberg

16/07/2013

Reding

Minister-President (Baden-Wurttemberg) Kretschmann

Bulgaria

Sofia

23/07/2013

Reding

President Plevneliev

Belgium

Namur

13/09/2013

Reding

Minister-President Demotte

Estonia

Tallinn

14/09/2013

Kallas, Rehn

Italy

Trieste

16/09/2013

Reding

Minister of European Affairs Moavero Milanesi

Finland

Helsinki

24/09/2013

Reding

MEP Pietikäinen

Hungary

Györ

03/10/2013

Andor

State Secretary for European Affairs Győri, MEP Őry

Slovak Republic

Košice

05/10/2013

Šefčovic

Slovak Parliament President Paška

Sweden

Stockholm

15/10/2013

Reding

Minister for European Union Affairs Ohlsson, MEP Ludvigsson

Belgium

Liège

17/10/2013

Barroso

Deputy Prime Minister Reynders (Belgium), Minister for Economics (Wallonia) Marcourt

Latvia

Riga

18/10/2013

Piebalgs

Minister of Defence Pabriks

Malta

Valetta

07/11/2013

Borg

France

Marseille

14/11/2013

Reding

Minister of Justice Taubira

Cyprus

Limassol

28/11/2013

Vassiliou

Austria

Eisenstadt

29/11/2013

Hahn

Minister-President (Burgenland) Niessl

Belgium

Brussels

05/12/2013

Vassiliou

MEP Durant

Lithuania

Vilnius

13/12/2013

Reding

Online

Virtual dialogue

16/01/2014

Reding

Denmark

Copenhagen

06/02/2014

Hedegaard

UK

London

10/02/2014

Reding

Minister of State for Europe Lidington

Spain

Barcelona

23/02/2014

Reding

France

Paris-Banlieue

27/02/2014

Barnier

Minister Delegate for European Affairs Repentin

Croatia

Zagreb

03/03/2014

Mimica

Germany

Koblenz

10/03/2014

Oettinger

Minister-President (Rhineland-Palatinate) Dreyer, State Minister for Europe (Rhineland-Palatinate) Conrad

Netherlands

Amsterdam

14/03/2014

Reding

Mayor van der Laan

Romania

Bucharest

17/03/2014

Ciolos

EU

Pan-European Dialogue Brussels

27/03/2014

Barroso, Reding, Rehn, Potočnik, Vassiliou, De Gucht, Damanaki, Hahn, Hedegaard, Andor, Mimica

MEP Roth-Behrendt, Mayor of Cadiz, Martinez Saiz (tbc)


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