May 9th, 2021. The day that building the future of Europe began

The addresses occasioned by the celebration of Europe Day could not eschew the topic of a considerable effort, meant to breathe new life into the European Union: The Conference on the Future of Europe. Gathered in the plenary hall of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the representatives of all major European institutions, of the Portuguese presidency of the Council of Europe and of the Executive Committee of the Conference on the Future of Europe expressed messages filled with hope in a brighter future for the EU, impassioned calls for unity and cooperation on avenues of shared interest, as well as calling for a more closer union in the face of crises and challenges, some of which are still affecting us today.

Guy Verhofstadt (on behalf of the European Parliament), Ana Paula Zacharias (on behalf of the Council of the European Union) and Dubravka Suisa (on behalf of the European Commission), the co-chairs of the Executive Committee of the Conference on the Future of Europe launched several highly important topics of debate as part of an initial round of questions received from European citizens: culture seen as a pan-European field of expertise, at the heart of the Union’s reform process; the management of climate change, viewed as affecting not only the health of individuals and EU member states, but also that of the planet at large; the promotion of diversity, through a policy of openness on the part of the Union and its institutions to both internal and external migrants; the freedom of expression, assembly and manifestation, correlated with the preservation of European values and culture; transparency and inclusivity as essential elements of the discourse shaping the creation of a Europe of the future, alongside its citizens; and, lastly, the ways in which this new Europe might answer the fears and anxieties of the younger generations that are witnessing deepening divisions between institutions, coupled with a lack of tolerance and understanding of the true multicultural dimension of the European Union.

The above are themes that highlight, once again, the imperious need for a restructuring of the grand project of the European Union; this time, however, this is an initiative to be carried out both for European citizens, and with their direct input.

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