Setting the stage for tomorrow: The Global and Regional Role of the EU
The Conference on the Future of Europe is a participation process at an EU level that gives citizens the possibility of discussing the challenges and priorities for the future of the EU.
Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of Spain, is organizing a panel with citizens: "Setting the stage for tomorrow: The Global and Regional Role of the EU" on October 11, 2021 in Dubrovnik. The panel provides an opportunity to inform, engage and exchange ideas on EU’s policies and actions in its neighborhood and on the global stage. The discussion will focus on two main topics: What are the benefits of a stronger geopolitical Europe and Is the enlargement policy of strategic importance for the EU?
The event will be held both online and in person.
Follow live: youtube.com/c/MVEPRH
For the latest overview of the key global trends affecting the EU's capacity and freedom to act, see the 2021 Strategic Foresight Report:
Ulica Frana Supila 10, 20000 Dubrovnik, Hrvatska
Event reportEvent conclusions: Against the backdrop of the present-day global challenges, which do not stop at national borders, the citizens’ interventions put a spotlight on the Union’s engagement with its neighbors and partners. The spotlight was put on the immediate neighborhood, particularly the Western Balkans, underscoring its European perspective. The panel highlighted the value of the transformational power of the credible accession process. The countries in the region should deliver meaningful reforms, while in return, the EU should allow the accession process to advance when the conditions are fulfilled. The continued EU engagement with the region is important, in order to encourage and support the necessary democratic, political and legislative reforms. Furthermore, the participants were also interested in the Union’s engagement with the other partners at the global stage, from the Eastern and Southern Neighborhood, to Africa and the Latin America. In general, support was expressed for a continued dialogue to bring the Union closer to its citizens and to familiarize them with the benefits of the Union membership. Summary of the event: Held as part of the Conference pillar “EU in the world”, the panel discussion, which was held in a hybrid format with the representatives of the Croatian and the Spanish youth associations, students and other interested participants, explored the global role and regional role of the European Union and reiterated the strategic importance of the enlargement policy. The panel was co-hosted by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia and the Ministry of External Relations, EU and Cooperation of Spain, with the participation of the Vice-President of the European Commission for Democracy and Demography. The panel focused on the Union's relations with its immediate neighborhood, including the Western Balkans, against the broader picture of the global challenges and influences, be it climate change, deteriorating security situation, the race for new energy sources, migration or demographic challenges. The event was livestreamed on the YouTube channel of the MFEA of Croatia and a number of media outlets published information about it. The Commission’s Vice-President Šuica pointed out that the Conference on the Future of Europe is a unique project in which citizens, especially the young people, have a central role, and emphasized the Commission’s openness for the participation of the citizens of the Western Balkans in the Conference activities. The introductory addresses by the State Secretary Metelko Zgombić and State Secretary González-Barba also underscored the importance of engaging with the citizens so that their views, ideas and proposals find their way in the conclusions to be presented in the framework of the Conference on the national and the European level. This involves examining the global and regional role of the Union: the 21st century world is increasingly interconnected and the European Union needs to work with its partners on the global stage to promote peace and security and strengthen its resilience. The European perspective of the Western Balkans was reiterated. Common Mediterranean links between Croatia and Spain, reinforced by participation in forums such as MED9 group, have also been recognized. The representative of a youth association from Croatia who had also participated in the inaugural plenary of the Conference pointed out that the young people were not sufficiently familiar with the benefits the Union has to offer and emphasized the role of the civil society organizations, especially at the local level. When it comes to the youth of the Western Balkan countries, it should be recognized that there is a great interest be involved in the accession process. The ensuing discussion brought a wide range of questions and comments from the Croatian and the Spanish participants present in person and online, about EU policies and global trends, with the focus on the enlargement policy. Third actors influence in the region was a preoccupation, as well as destabilizing actions of some States within the region itself. The participants also emphasized the need to address the rule of law challenges in the region, while some reflected on the ongoing rule of law debates in relation to some Member States. The transformational power of a credible accession process was reiterated, because a genuine societal transformation is critical for a functional membership in the Union. For that, it is essential to deliver concrete results, which depend both on the capacity and on the political will of the countries in the region to fulfill the accession criteria. On the other hand, the EU should be able to deliver on its part of the promise and allow the accession negotiations to progress when the necessary conditions are fulfilled. The new enlargement methodology adopted during the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the EU was recalled in that context, as well as the importance of the regular summits with the Western Balkan countries and of the Economic and Investment Plan for the region, worth almost 30 billion euros. The debate also reflected on the active EU role in the Eastern and Southern Neighborhood. Special and comprehensive relations with Africa and the Latin America were also mentioned. Several questions explored the impact of the current global challenges on the Union and how to make it more resilient: from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; uneven vaccination campaigns; situation in Afghanistan and the geostrategic relations in the Indo-Pacific; to the impact of raising energy prices on the EU citizens.
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