Second Citizens’ Convention: “United States of Europe?!”

UEF’s response to the Period of Reflection

, by Dr. Friedhelm Frischenschlager, Reinout De Prez

Second Citizens' Convention: “United States of Europe?!”

After the success of the First European Citizens’ Convention, which was held in Genoa on 3-4 December 2005, the UEF has decided to continue with the organisation of what is going to become a series of conventions.

The Second European Citizens’ Convention will take place on 29-30 June in Vienna, and will be organised jointly by UEF Austria, JEF-Austria and UEF supranational.

At the end of June, European Citizens will have a chance to meet again in the framework of a European Citizens Convention and discuss key issues of the European project, take account of any progress made in the last months and recommend future action in regard to the constitutional process. The Vienna Convention will gather about 300 people from all over Europe: members of the European Parliament and of national Parliaments, representatives of Civil Society and the general public. This Second Citizens’ Convention will focus on the theme “United States of Europe?!”. Should we call for a United States of Europe, like the Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt did only recently is his book “The United States of Europe”? How should we achieve that goal, and what are the difficulties Europe is currently facing? How far away are we from a truly United Europe? The Second Citizens’ Convention will analyse and discuss these challenges, looking at various policy fields.

The Second European Citizens’ Convention is a response of the UEF to various policy papers published by the European institutions in the months following the launch of the Period of Reflection in the late summer of last year. Following the European Commission’s Plan D on Dialogue, Debate and Democracy and its White Paper on a European Communication Policy, the Convention takes on particular importance. The timeliness of the Convention is demonstrated by the fact European ministers themselves are looking for answers on how to win back the citizens for the European project. However, it would be wrong to just look for a better communication strategy. The EU indeed needs better government for the European Economy, which can pursue a socially-balanced and growth-friendly policy, engaging fully Europe’s human capital. The EU also needs to enhance further its role as a power for peace, making full use of the instruments available and increasing the scope of its action.

Several high-ranking speakers have already confirmed their participation: Mr.Didier Donfut, Belgian State Secretary for European Affairs, Mr. Pat Cox, President of the European Movement International and former President of the European Parliament, Mrs. Anne-Marie Sigmund, President of the European Economic and Social Committee and Monika Wulf-Mathies, President of the European Movement Germany, will be present - to name only a few.

The Second Citizens’ Convention aims to reach a broad public. In order for the Second Citizens’ Convention to be successful, Federalists must engage in a close dialogue with other civil society organisations and convince them of the importance of progress towards a federal Europe for enabling the Union to address the most pressing concerns of the European citizens.

Information, further developments and announcements regarding the Second Citizens’ Convention are available on UEF’s website. Here you can also find the draft programme of the Convention as well as the registration forms and practical information concerning your travels to and you stay in Vienna.

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