Politico reports that a non-paper on the Conference on the Future of Europe was released by Germany and France on November 26th 2019. The paper calls for a two-phase, inter-institutional conference to “address all issues at stake to guide the future of Europe with a view to making the EU more united and sovereign.”
This unofficial document was discussed at the EU Ambassadors breakfast meeting in Brussels on Wednesday and the opinions on different aspects of the document were divided, but the main message was that, while “nobody is against the Conference on the Future of Europe plan”, caution is advised, Politico reported.
The European Council is expected to discuss the proposal in December, in case the president-elect of the European Council, Charles Michael, decides to include it in the agenda of the upcoming meeting, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel, one of the two leaders behind this motion besides the French President Emmanuel Macron, will most probably present the proposal during the next meeting of the EU leaders.
Despite the somewhat contrasting stances of the two countries on some current issues, such as the accession of North Macedonia and Albania to the EU or the role of the NATO, France and Germany have taken a mutual stance on the necessity for a Conference which would focus on the current policies and institutions of the European Union with the aim of their improvement.
The document emphasizes the need to involve all three EU institutions, as well as the EU Members States, civil society and citizens in the discussion on the future of the EU. The idea is to make the reforms a bottom-up process and involve the citizens as much as possible.
It is of great importance to repeat that the Conference is to address “all issues at stake to guide the future of Europe with a view to making the EU more united and sovereign – such as Europe’s role in the world and its security and defense, neighborhood, digitalization, climate change, migration, fight against inequalities, our “social market economy” model (including social rights, industrial and innovation policy, trade, EMU, competitiveness), the rule of law and European values.” This is to be done by focusing on policies and setting the priorities when it comes to reforms, as well as tackling the institutional issues.
While some of the diplomats argued that the timing for such a conference is not quite suitable, the Conference was mentioned in the objectives of the Ursula Von Der Leyen’s Commission and it is to take place from February 2020 till the first half of 2022. As stated in the document, the Conference is supposed