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Dialogues with European citizens on the future of Europe

Met dank overgenomen van Sloveens voorzitterschap Europese Unie 2e helft 2021, gepubliceerd op dinsdag 21 december 2021.

Launch of a dialogue with European citizens on the future of Europe

Given the many challenges the EU has faced in the last decade, there is a need, now more than ever, for a comprehensive debate on our common future. The EU wants to address these challenges through the Conference on the Future of Europe, with European citizens at its heart. Following discussions on the procedural aspects of the conference, we started key content-based discussions with citizens during the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU.

At its first session, the executive committee of the conference, which was co-chaired by Slovenia, decided to give a stronger voice to the regions and social partners. The beginning of September saw one of the main events of the Slovenian Presidency, the traditional 16th Bled Strategic Forum, which focused entirely on the future of Europe. This year, the Bled Strategic Forum attracted over 170 top panellists from the fields of politics, business, science and technology and civil society, as well as young leaders.

In the second half of the year, all four European citizens' panels began their work. Citizens discussed a stronger economy, jobs, education, culture, youth, sport, digital transformation, European democracy, values, rights, the rule of law and security, as well as climate change, the environment and health, the EU's role in the world, and migration. A total of 200 European citizens, mostly young people, chosen through random selection took part in each of the panels. For the first time these citizen representatives actively participated in the October plenary meeting of the conference. It is particularly important for Slovenia that representatives of the Western Balkans, with whom we share responsibility for the future of Europe, participated as stakeholders. The practice of involving stakeholders with the aim of making the debate as broad and open as possible should be continued.

Slovenia is aware that the conference is one of the EU's most important communication projects. That is why we devote particular attention to promoting and encouraging discussions about the aspects of life in Europe, both today and in the future. We also have encouraged young people, in particular, to participate and share their ideas, including through a multilingual digital platform.

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