This year, the EU will embark on a two-year Future of Europe Conference looking at a number of key policy challenges including the future of democracy in Europe.
The conference’s conclusions will lead to a series of legislative proposals by the Commission and a renewed attempt to change the European treaties.
There’s an emphasis on citizen involvement through online consultations etc. but many will consider it a top down process. Ownership of the process lies with the member states and not with the citizens.
This imbalance mirrors previous failed attempt to frame a conversation about the future of Europe and fails to give a role to organised civil society.
Civil society can and must move quickly to energise the spaces in between the formal consultation processes if the conference is to succeed.
The ideas behind #Europefuturefringe
For civil society organisations to come together to occupy the influential fringes of politics to create a parallel series of events to the Future of Europe Conference.
The relationship between the fringe and main conference should be similar to that of the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe.
The initiative will consist of a number of independently organised events framed by topics as part of an ongoing dialogue about the future of Europe.
Events will be listed on www.europefuturefringe.com and be promoted using #europefuturefringe
Civil society events, workshops, conferences, artistic and theatrical events, readings, cultural, literary, music and cultural festivals can all be part of Europe Future Fringe.
The Fringe will reach beyond the EU’s borders so that citizens of Britain or the Ukraine, for example, can be part of the conversation about the future of Europe.
Participation is free and open to the full range of civil society organisations from the world of politics to education and the arts.
A steering group has been created to lead the development of the initiative consisting of representatives from New Europeans, Volonteurope and EFF- European Future Forum.
Where can I find out more or who do I contact in the steering group with any queries/problems?
In the first instance please contact Laura Bell from Volonteurope on firstname.lastname@example.org