This Europe Day is an opportunity to continue working for the future of the EU

Author: Jennifer Emilie Richard

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Seventy-two years ago, Robert Schuman's declaration changed European history forever, introducing the prospect of unity and peace, that had long been inconceivable. Today, more than ever, as war rages on our continent, we must continue to develop and reform the EU and its institutions, in accordance with the will of the EU citizens.

Renew Europe therefore welcomes the final report presented today in Strasbourg by the co-chairs of the Executive Committee of the Conference on the Future of Europe. For one year, many EU citizens have worked with determination to share their ideas and proposals for the future of our Union; an unprecedented exercise in democracy. Our group salutes their commitment and their work and thanks them. We support the proposal of the citizens to establish a Convention, the best way to improve our European democracy.

Renew Europe calls on the European institutions and the Member States to implement the conclusions of the Conference, which was a priority initiative of our political family. In this regard, our group expresses disappointment with the declaration of several member states expressing reservations on the revision of the treaties.

The citizens of the EU have made clear demands that our our treaties should be updated, for example to end unanimity in the Council, enhance defence capacities and deliver greater EU competence in health matters or the European Parliament's right of initiative. The health crisis and the war in Ukraine show the EU must evolve to be able to tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Stéphane Séjourné, President of Renew Europe, declared:

"The Conference on the Future of Europe is an unprecedented democratic exercise for our continent. We are at a turning point for our Europe. We must live up to our citizens' expectations and not just listen to them. Let us show ambition and courage, like Robert Schuman 72 years ago, and engage in a reform of the treaties towards more European integration and sovereignty

Renew Europe is fighting for the implementation of the Conference's proposals, such as transnational lists, the end of the unanimity rule, a true Energy Union ensuring our energy independence and a better protection of our values and the Rule of Law by making Article 7 more effective. We are fighting and we will continue to fight, for our citizens."

Guy Verhofstadt, co-chair of the Executive Board of the Conference, added:

"A European Union that acts ‘to little, to late’ as we have seen so many times, will not survive. In that sense, European integration is no longer a question of choice, it has become a question of necessity, of survival."

"The recommendations of the citizens and the conclusions of the Conference, offers us a roadmap to avoid that we become irrelevant or disappear. A new, effective and more democratic Europe is possible. A Europe that is sovereign and is capable to act. A Europe that leads planet earth forward."

Renew Europe calls for a permanent institutionalisation of direct citizen's participation in the European project:

"Their is no real opposition or contradiction between representative and participatory democracy; on the contrary; in a modern democracy both are necessary."