National Committee member David Levy writes about the latest developments with the EU’s Conference on the Future of Europe #COFOE.
Another Europe has been working with Citizens Takeover Europe to campaign for a progressive, citizen oriented and democratic outcome from the EU’s Conference on the Future of Europe #cofoe. The conference, in a revolutionary step, contains a large number of randomly selected citizens who we hope will be the source of new ideas and able to express the priorities of Europe’s citizens. They have also canvassed views using a new multi-lingual bulletin board.
The Conference’s panel on Democracy and the Rule of Law has completed its deliberations and made 39 recommendations. As a result of this the CTOE issued an open letter, calling for a meaningful, written response to the working group proposals; there is a fear that the efforts of the 800 citizens will be ignored or diminished if politics as usual continues. This is about the democracy of the Conference itself.
CTOE have also issued a document which they say aims, “to strengthen the recommendations with our responses and to offer a different perspective, as well as further inspire the discussions at the Conference plenary.” This is a citizen’s perspective of Panel 2’s recommendations themselves which include the establishment of a citizen’s assembly, transnational parliamentary lists, and pan-European referendums. There are also small advances in defining citizenship within the EU, although this remains a member-state competency. I am disappointed that the Committee of Regions proposal to extend the principle of subsidiarity [DL1] within the member states did not get more traction.
The report on Climate Change, Environment and Health has also been submitted and debated by the conference plenary. My initial impressions is that it’s strong on health, which given the experience of previous years is not surprising, but weak on energy, there is one excellent recommendation on promoting renewable energy, and another on hydrogen economy together with a commitment to a just transition from dirty industry. . Each of these critical issues has one recommendation while agriculture, food, and packaging all have more than one. This reflects that the top two proposals on the Digital Platform are for a just transition and removal of all subsidies on non-sustainable energy
The recommendations are based on contributions to a digital platform. The Migration proposals are quite polarised with many arguing for solidarity with refugees and migrants and with those countries carrying more than their share and compassion while others do not. There is one proposal to allow British Citizens movement rights within the EU, which others oppose, the most gentle being because they can usually naturalise in their country of residence, thus is an unnecessary compromise and an example of cakeism. The division is such that I would be surprised if any Migration proposals make the final report as they need to gain a level of support with the Citizens’ Panel. The EU in the World proposals are more classically federalist or even more strongly integrationist, with the most popular proposals being a common military, the use of QMV for foreign affairs management and an independent world voice for democracy and the rule of law being all on the first page. There is also a proposal to abolish the veto on new accessions. The ETUC’s call for resetting the world trade order on the basis of justice is a sole outlier from hard geo-political stances.
The proposals on the Economy are dominated by the ETUC’s proposals to reinvigorate the social pillar together with calls for a UBI, common social wage levels and anti-tax avoidance measures for corporates. The proposals on Education, Culture, Youth and Sport have a surprising, to me, number of calls for investment in Esperanto, although two proposals from the ETUC on life long learning and extending employment protection rights are positions no 2 & 3.
On Digital Transformation, the ETUC make a proposal on Fair Digitalisation, ensuring that human rights are at the centre of these investments, there are multiple calls for support for open source and the principle that public money buys public access. Individual submissions reinforce the importance of privacy in the digital age. Privacy was an important principle behind a number of recommendations on democracy and the rule of law.
Itr is not too late to endorse articles on the digital platform for the latter two topic groups and I would ask that you have a look at The proposals on the Economy , and the EU in the World proposals, and to endorse any you like. (You will need a login to the platform and I advise non-EU citizens to use one of the datenkraken 3rd party login providers.)
Our work is designed to build and maintain links with European progressive organisations, build democracy in the EU and speak for our European Union citizen members living in the UK and for those Brits living in the EU.
31st January 2022