Citizens’ Dialogue online with Dubravka Šuica, Vice-President of the European Commission for Democracy and Demography
Audience: 50 young people from Croatia, Portugal, Slovenia and France (Vice-President’s country of origin, current and two future the EU Presidency countries, by the end of the Conference. The event will be moderated by Ms Beatriz Ríos.
This event is organised in the context of the Conference on the Future of Europe. VP Šuica as the leader of the Commission in the Executive Board would emphasise that she is personally engaged in dialogue with citizens. The event would be focused specifically on younger people, who are a particular target group of the Conference.
Main topics are related to the Conference on the Future of Europe. They include climate change and the environment; health; a stronger economy, social justice and jobs; EU in the world; values and rights, rule of law, security; digital transformation; European democracy; migration; and education, culture, youth and sport.
You can watch the event here: https://futureu.europa.eu/
On Wednesday 23rd June, Vice-President Šuica engaged in a live debate on the Conference on the Future of Europe with young people from four member states.
Around 50 participants connected live from Portugal, Slovenia, France, and Croatia. These countries were selected as they are the current and two future EU Presidency countries during the Conference, and Madame Vice-President’s country of origin. The younger audience were aged 15-18 connected with Madame Vice-President in the Berlaymont studio via Zoom, with interpretation. The dialogue was streamed live via the Conference platform https://futureu.europa.eu/, as well as the Representations’ social media accounts and EbS. It is available, recorded here: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-208183
Young people’s concerns, hopes, ideas and recommendations were central to the discussion, especially in the context of their expectations about the future of the European Union and its role in shaping global developments and transformations. From farming and rural areas, to global warming, education and migration, the enthusiastic participants expressed their views and asked Madame Vice-President for her explanations on what the EU is doing in these areas.
The first round of discussion saw questions such as: ‘how does the EU intend to educate young people about what the EU is and what its roles are and why it is important?’. On the subject of the Conference itself, two participants from Portugal sought assurance that young people were not there as a token, and that their ideas would really be taken on board by the EU. They wanted to know about the concrete follow-up of the Conference, and a young Slovenian participant echoed their questions with her request to understand how the Conference could alter the course of our democracy in the EU as we know it.
The following round of discussion revolved largely around the green transition, migration, rural versus urban life and involvement in society. ‘The transition to a green, digital-oriented Europe will not be an easy and fast process. Where do you see young people in rural areas in these changes and where you see young farmers and in what role?’ asked one participant from Slovenia.
During the third round of discussion, Madame Vice-President took questions live from viewers via social media. Other topics citizens made their voices heard about included cultural heritage, ageing, children’s rights, and the education of people with disabilities. ‘What are the specific plans of the European Commission for the inclusion of children with disabilities in all forms of social life, especially in sports activities?’. A French participant then asked Madame Vice-President ‘Is the European Union acting to protect and enhance our heritage, what action is it going to take in this area?’. Madame Vice-President informed the young participants about the Green Paper on Ageing, the Child Guarantee, and mentioned that Europe’s democracies are built on our rich and diverse cultural heritage and that the Commission is undertaking a multitude of measures to protect this important aspect of our identity.
The final discussion focused on the recovery from the pandemic and vaccination campaigns across member states, and the Digital Green Cerfiticate, as well as other issues like Romani communities and the Green Deal. ‘What are the best steps to help Romani communities integrate into European countries?’. one young person from Croatia wanted know.
‘No other democracy in the world has dared to organize something on this scale’, said Vice-President Šuica. Madame Vice-President encouraged online viewers that all citizens can influence the future of Europe, from young to old, people simply need to use the platform to make their voice heard. We need to listen to those we do not usually engage with - this is at the core of the Conference. Imploring people to take part, the VP reiterated the strong and simple message - this is your Conference.
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