EU reform is around the corner!
The Conference on the Future of Europe created unforeseen demand and political momentum for fundamental treaty change, including more direct democracy, abolishing unanimity in the Council, and introducing the right of initiative for the European Parliament. And on May 4 the European Parliament took a historic vote to invoke Article 48 of the Lisbon Treaty, to change the treaties by means of a new European Convention.
The European Programme at Democracy International is experiencing one of the most exciting times in a decade! Over the course of the past 2 years, I have been working tirelessly with partners from the Citizens’ Take Over Europe coalition to ensure that the Conference on the Future of Europe amounts to actual democratic success, develops ambitious proposals, and paves the way for European reform. In the end, the Conference members put together 325 recommendations - clustered into 49 proposals - for how to reform the EU.
Many adopted proposals warrant major changes to the EU’s founding treaties. This alone is a significant fruit of our advocacy work. At Democracy International, we have called for these institutional and democratic treaty reforms for over 10 years!
I was at the European Parliament in Strasbourg during the Conference on the Future of Europe’s final event on Europe Day, May 9. After spending endless weekends monitoring the Conference and calling for procedural improvements to make the exercise more transparent, democratic, and accountable, it was here that the final speeches of the three EU Presidents at the Conference marked the achievement of more than what most would have dared to hope for.
All three EU Presidents called for treaty change!
French President and current EU Council President Emmanuel Macron and President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola issued strong calls for a new European Convention. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for institutionalising citizens’ assemblies on the EU level. This is a huge success for democracy organisations everywhere!
Despite the challenges, the Conference on the Future of Europe created unforeseen demand and political momentum for fundamental treaty change. This includes more direct democracy, abolishing unanimity in the Council, and introducing the right of initiative for the European Parliament. Building on this demand, on May 4 the European Parliament took a historic vote to invoke Article 48 of the Lisbon Treaty, which enables the EU to change the treaties by means of a new European Convention.
After a decade of advocating for it, a European Convention would present a new chapter for the European Programme at Democracy International – if approved by a simple majority in the European Council. We’re confident that our next campaign will be all-hands-on-deck to ensure that we have a democratic, inclusive, and accountable Convention, where people are placed at the centre of the decision-making process!
But I have to be honest. There’s never been a better time to expand our European Programme’s capacity than during this decision period for European democracy. That is why we are already reaching out to foundations to support our work in the long run. Until then, we need your help. In the short-term, we’re going to need campaign materials such as an updated website, banners and flyers in order to professionalise the publicity of our work. It is your donation of 10, 35 or even 50 Euros that can secure our high-level advocacy campaign for a people-powered European Convention!
European Programme Manager