The EESC has a vital role to play in the public consultations proposed by the French President, since the initiatives taken daily by the EESC, enabling civil society to have a say in shaping Europe at the highest level, are fundamentally in line with the idea behind the consultations. This was the message conveyed by Nathalie Loiseau, French minister for European affairs, in her address to the EESC plenary in Brussels on 15 February.
The minister outlined the project of French President Emmanuel Macron to launch a series of public consultations across the Member States to rebuild Europe on the basis of the aspirations and proposals, but also the criticisms and concerns, voiced by the people of Europe during the consultations.
“The aim is to give Europeans a fresh chance to speak out so that …we can identify those areas where Europe's presence is too weak, those where people would like Europe to take action of a different kind, and those where people may even feel that Europe is too intrusive”, the minister explained.
The idea is to mobilise a very substantial number of people by holding classic debates, online consultations and democratic participatory events.
The president of the EESC, Georges Dassis, welcomed the initiative, referring to the two sets of large-scale consultations – inspired by the same philosophy – held by the EESC over the past two years in the EU Member States, one on the situation of migrants and the other on the White Paper on the future of Europe.
The minister announced that 24 EU countries had already signed up to take part in the consultations, scheduled to take place between April and October 2018. The findings would feed into a study by Heads of States and Governments, who would examine the recommendations at the December 2018 European Council. (dm)