“Maastricht and beyond: EU in the World at CoFoE”, Sabina Lange and Constance Bobotsi (EIPA, Maastricht)

Following a Covid-induced postponement, 200 citizens from all corners of the Union will arrive in Maastricht on 11 February 2022 for a final weekend of deliberations on the EU’s role in the world and on migration. Forming part of the one-year participatory democracy exercise called the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE), this weekend will produce the citizens’ final recommendations on these two topics.

Under CoFoE’s elaborate model, citizen input is foreseen through three distinct channels. First, a series of events taking place in the Member States, organised by national governments, decentralised authorities, and civil society actors. Secondly, a multilingual digital platform where citizens can propose and discuss their ideas along the lines of pre-defined topic areas. Finally, the four thematically organised European Citizens’ Panels (ECP), each bringing together 200 randomly selected, but demographically representative, Europeans. Over the course of three sessions, citizens have been asked to identify issues and progressively work towards recommendations for the EU’s future direction in different topics.

Ahead of the session in Maastricht, this briefing frames the discussions on ‘EU in the world’ as they can be observed in the three channels of the CoFoE, it contextualises the most discussed themes, and attempts to assess the challenges and opportunities for the Conference Plenary and beyond. We first make some observations on the three channels, before turning to four topics which we believe will be central in the citizens’ recommendations formulated over the weekend, as well as in the wider scheme of the CoFoE.

Read more here.