Liaison Group Newsletter December 2021

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With 2021 coming to an end, one thing is certain: this has been a very challenging, intense, and crucial year full of transitions and transformation for civil society organisations. And it seems likely, given all the pandemic-related uncertainty, that 2022 will follow the same pattern. The Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) has been running for several months now. Predictably, this autumn a multitude of activities and events were organised in connection with this Pan-European conference, most of the results of which can be found in the digital platform. The Liaison Group has met this autumn, and in both settings the CoFoE was of course a key topic as well as other civil dialogue mechanisms of the union. This supposed exercise of participatory democracy rightly received criticism from every quarter. The fact that most citizens do not even know that the conference is happening reveals a clear lack of political commitment on the part of political representatives and governments across Europe. If this major conference was meant to promote civic participation and to deliver a European public space for citizens, so far we can only note that the goal is still a long way off. And national media campaigns do not seem to be filling the information gap. In addition, logistical and organisational issues around the Conference are affecting those citizens and associations who actually wish to participate and raise their voices and concern.