#TheFutureIsYours Strengthening European democracy
Citizens’ Forum on the Future of the EU
How do we want to live? How can we get involved? We want to talk about this together. The guest is Mathias Weilandt, State Secretary at the Saxon Ministry of Europe. Then snacks and music. ********* As part of the Leipzig Science Festival GLOBE21 organised by students and lecturers of the University of Leipzig, involved in the Jean Monnet Top Research Center “The European Union and its Rural Periphery in Eastern Central Europe” of the University of Leipzig **********
Selliner Straße 17, 04207 Leipzig
Event reportDate: 16.07.2021 Place: Komm Haus Leipzig Grünau, Selliner Str. 17, 04207 Leipzig Number of participants: 24 Methodology: Open discussion with group work Demographic data: 9 female, 15 male read persons Age structure: The moderation welcomed the participants and carried out a short interactive introduction with knowledge and some opinion questions on the future of the EU. Afterwards, the participants gathered in three sub-groups to discuss the open question “How do we imagine the EU of the future, how do we want to live?” for about 30 minutes. The subgroups discussed the following results and concrete proposals: — For the further development of the EU, it is important to bring these younger people closer — this could be achieved, for example, by lowering the voting age for elections to the European Parliament to 16 years — bearing in mind that elections to the European Parliament are organised according to national electoral law and that the minimum voting age varies accordingly — European harmonisation would be desirable — finally, young people should be made aware of European policy issues at school. While the introduction of an EU-wide uniform school subject for European policy education was considered unrealistic and contrary to the principle of subsidiarity, a subgroup advocated the introduction of ‘European ambassadors’. These would come to schools in the context of information campaigns to provide (European) political education and in particular to inform about less well-known EU programmes, such as Erasmus+ for apprentices — Finally, a reform of the elections to the European Parliament and the President of the Commission was debated — a system based on the French semi-presidential model was proposed: While the President of the Commission would be directly elected by the citizens, parliamentarians would continue to be elected according to the national electoral system, so that the regional context of the campaign would be preserved, but on the other hand a supranational element should be added — moreover, the process of election should be combined with more information, for example by providing impartial information material — overall, the European Parliament should be given more power, in particular a right of initiative was demanded by different groups. At the same time, the Council of the European Union should give competences to the other EU institutions — it is important to create a cross-border (European) discourse area in order to promote a European public — the fight against extremism and terrorism should be a focal point of EU activities — dealing with Member States where fundamental EU values are no longer guaranteed has been discussed in detail. This was in favour of a consistent implementation and shortening of funds, while ensuring that such measures do not harm civil society — finally, the EU should have more competences and move forward in the field of social policy: initiatives such as an EU-wide minimum wage, stronger occupational health and safety, more redistribution, wealth taxes levied across the EU Following the discussion on results, a brief input from the invited guest (State Secretary Matthias Weilandt) to the activities of the Saxon Ministry of Europe was followed. Afterwards there was a discussion and question round. The main results were: — It is necessary to discuss how the results of the events will be evaluated and re-used in the context of the conference — Citizens must demand that the results be used and taken seriously — Persons interested in the EU have a multiplier function: They can bring the EU closer to less politically interested people from the circle of friends, families and acquaintances — Open question to be discussed: Is it enough for us as citizens when our discussion results come into the final report of the conference, or are we expecting a real, committed implementation?
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