Juan González-Barba prepares in Brussels for launch of Conference on Future of Europe
The State Secretary for the European Union, Juan González-Barba, made a working trip to Brussels to attend the inaugural session of the Executive Board of the Conference on the Future of Europe and to meet with the Vice-President of the European Commission, Vera Jourová, and the European Commissioner, Elisa Ferreira. The Conference will begin on 9 May, Europe Day, and will constitute an exercise in citizen reflection regarding the challenges facing the European Union.

The State secretary held a busy agenda of working meetings in the EU capital, at which he took the opportunity to present his opposite numbers with Spain’s proposals on the Conference. Specifically, Spain wishes to place great emphasis on the development of European citizenship, attention for territories with serious geographic disadvantages, greater participation of cities in the European project and a commitment to sport in order to strengthen the feeling of common membership.

The Executive Board, with representatives from the European Parliament, Commission, Council and social stakeholders, is tasked with preparing the design and the working methods for the Conference. Juan González-Barba claimed that a pro-European country such as is Spain is committed to an ambitious, inclusive Conference, with great citizen participation designed to achieving specific results that Europeans can feel in their daily lives. Once the pandemic remits, the EU must apply the lessons learned over the last year to prepare for future challenges. The Conference is a great opportunity to listen to European citizens at a time of change.

The participation of civil society in the Conference will be structured through a multilingual platform. The State secretary placed emphasis on facilitating citizen contributions to the digital platform in various co-official languages of Spain to make sure that citizen participation is as inclusive as possible.

With a view to consolidating the implementation of the Conference, the State secretary met with the MEP and former Belgian Prime Minister, Guy Verhofstadt, and with the President of the Regional Development Committee of the European Parliament, Younous Omarjee. 

He also took the opportunity of his visit to Brussels to hold a meeting with the Vice-President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency, Vera Jourová, to discuss the Conference, the Action Plan for Democracy and the protection of the fundamental values of the EU. He also met with the European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, to exchange ideas about how the regions can more actively participate in the EU and review the state of EU policies on the Outermost Regions.

The meetings were also used to address other EU current affairs, such as coordination and the fight against COVID-19, digital mobility ‘passports’ and the European Social Agenda.


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