The president of the European assembly, David Sassoli, said in a publication on the social network Twitter that the green light had been given. In the message released after a meeting of the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament, which brings together the president of the assembly and the leaders of the different benches, David Sassoli called this event “a great opportunity to work for a new Europe together with the citizens”. This means that the Conference on the Future of Europe finally has a 'green light' to move forward.
The endorsement was given a day after the Council of the European Union (EU) also approved the joint declaration negotiated by the Portuguese presidency regarding the Conference on the Future of Europe, giving its “unanimous support” to the event. With today's final approval, the Conference will be able to start within weeks, with a symbolic launching ceremony scheduled for Europe Day, 9 May, in Strasbourg, France.
After a long stalemate over the celebration of this event aimed at European citizens - which should have started in May 2020, but was postponed due not only to the pandemic of the covid-19 but also due to the different positions of the European institutions - the presidency At the beginning of the month, the Portuguese government proposed a new governance format that was endorsed by the 27, having negotiated the joint declaration, which must be signed by the Commission, Parliament and Council so that the conference can finally take place.
The proposal for a joint declaration, to which Lusa had access, 'confirms' the “joint presidency” proposed by the Portuguese presidency, which is fundamental to break the impasse that was verified in terms of governance - and in particular the personality that should lead the conference - , establishing that “the conference will be placed under the authority of the three institutions, represented by the President of the European Parliament, the President of the [EU] Council and the President of the European Commission”.
The conference will start until May under the joint chairmanship of Ursula von der Leyen, David Sassoli and António Costa, as President-in-Office of the EU Council, until the end of June, after which he will be replaced by the Prime Minister of Slovenia, who completes the trio of presidencies of the Council formed by Germany, Portugal and Slovenia, with Ljubljana succeeding Lisbon on July 1st.
This “joint presidency” will be assisted by an executive committee that equally places the three institutions on an equal footing, as each will appoint three representatives and up to four observers, and will co-chair the work together, with decisions being taken unanimously.
Representatives of the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee, as well as the Conference of Specialized Bodies in Union Affairs of the Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC), may also be invited to the executive committee.
This executive committee, in turn, will be supported by a secretariat, in which the three institutions will also be represented on an equal footing. Finally, a conference plenary is planned, "which will ensure that the recommendations of panels of national and European citizens, grouped by themes, will be debated without a predetermined outcome".