Europe is what you make it. You have the power to fix the European Union. Not just through voting in national and European elections, but through being an active citizen, through campaigning, pressuring your democratic representatives, and debating and discussing with others the kind of Europe you want to live in.

Launching on Europe Day (9 May 2021), and running for twelve months until Spring 2022, the EU’s Conference on the Future of Europe is a pan-European consultation with citizens on the sort of reforms and future direction they want the 27-member bloc to take. It’s been planned as a completely open debate, with “no taboos” in terms of treaty change or reforms.

How can our readers help fix Europe? Debating Europe spoke to Volt MEP and co-founder Damian Boeselager ahead of the launch of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

First, we asked him how Debating Europe’s readers can get involved in the Conference. What can they do if they’re interested in having a say on the future of Europe?

They can go to the online platform and organise events and / or submit ideas to be discussed about how Europe could change, and I very much encourage everyone to do that.

I would also say: reach out to your local councilors and your mayors and also national parliamentarians, regional parliamentarians, European parliamentarians and tell them that you care about this topic so that they take it up as well.

Next up, we had a comment from long-time reader Proactive arguing that real change to the EU can only come if there is unanimous agreement between Member State governments.

He argues national referendums would need to be held in all EU countries before any changes proposed in a pan-European exercise such as the Conference on the Future of Europe can actually be implemented:

Image of a citizenChanges can only come via Member Nations’ referendums… Any hope or insinuation that it can [be otherwise] is false and disingenuous.

Is Proactive right? If so, what is the purpose of the Conference on the Future of Europe if, ultimately, it can’t lead to anything substantial without treaty change?

How would Volt MEP Damian Boeselager respond?

I think it’s always good to be critical. Sure, it’s important to look at processes and understand how they work, and if they can work, and so on. I think it’s also important to understand that a lot of power still lies with the Member States.

But what we need to do is have a genuine debate with citizens across the continent about what kind of Europe we want to live in. What’s the Europe that you think should exist? What should we do on foreign policy? What should we do on climate? Let’s talk about the topics, rather than the setup. And *then* let’s talk about what kind of changes we need in the setup…

For example, my personal topic would be migration; I believe we need a European immigration code for labour migration, and I believe we need a European asylum system. For that to happen, however, there need to be some changes; some of them can be done without treaty change (for example, through different styles of voting in the Council) and some of them, yes, will need treaty change. So, I think we should just be open and really think freely about what kind of Europe we want to live in, and *then* we should see what kind of changes are needed to achieve that and try to convince everyone of these changes.

What kind of Europe do our readers want to live in? We had a comment sent in from Julia calling for a much more “social EU”, one much more involved with redistribution and social protection:

Image of a citizen[I want] a more social EU that takes care of the people before corporations within the EU and outside the EU. Tax the mega-rich. Abolish poverty. Introduce EU-wide benefits and minimum wage.

We also had a comment sent in by Steve arguing in favour of an ultra-minimalist EU, one focused exclusively on free trade:

Image of a citizenI would dismantle it and only keep import / export of goods active. Lets face it, taxes, obligations, rules that no one wants. And in this time of COVID they showed they are not united at all, nor do they help their members in case of financial problems or even security. In other words, they create more issues than solutions, without speaking about what it all costs in exorbitant salaries.

What is Damian Boeselager’s vision for Europe? Would he agree more with Julia or with Steve?

I think, first of all, it’s important to have clear visions for the future. Everybody should have a vision, and democracy is about trying to find out which is the prevailing vision, and I do believe that in this debate on Europe’s future we need some brave politicians who share their vision and work to take away the fears of the future that are sometimes being created by the media and by social media…

My personal vision is to have a very democratic Europe, where your vote counts. If you want to have a more liberal Europe, you could vote for more liberal parties and then you would shift the direction of the EU. If you want a more social Europe, you would vote for Social Democrats, the Left parties, and you would shift Europe in that direction. So, the first precondition for my vision of Europe is that I want a functioning parliamentary democracy at the European level. That’s basically the non plus ultra. There should be the feeling that I can vote and, at least if I’m the majority, then Europe would change in that direction.

After that, my personal vision is indeed for a more social Europe. I also want a more innovation-friendly Europe, I want a more green and sustainable Europe, and I want a more fair and just Europe. And I can give you very concrete policy examples for each of these, be it a European immigration code, or be it a functioning climate policy, or be it an actual digitisation and innovation-friendly industrial policy, and so on.

So, there are a range of topics that I care about but, as I said, I think the most important one is that we have these discussions and we have this power to change the direction of Europe with our votes.

What do you think the future of Europe should look like? What is the purpose of the Conference on the Future of Europe if, ultimately, it can’t lead to anything substantial without treaty change? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

Image Credits: BigStock – (c) CameraCraft

122 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    EU Reform Proactive

    All good & well!

    “Volt: Pragmatic- Progressive”- promoting an EU mutation within the EP/MEP but remaining an EU compliant voice (for lack or not- of other options/choices) – all under the same EU (27) and CoE (47) symbol/flag. A bit irritating though!

    Volt is just one org. within a group of other alternative EU concept explorers- embedded within the EU/EP- while many others remain outside.

    Both the CoE & EU claim the 12 stars as a symbol of ‘completeness and unity! Who is more genuine or disingenuous? Let the numbers speak: 47:27!

    Even a ‘Brexit Britain’ or Russia need to be ‘courted’ to join an inclusive ‘CoE concept of E-nations. My EU observation is (despite many positives) that the present ‘two speed, top-down approach by the 27- who believe they might reach 47 faster- seem to have hit a brick wall, have created lots of animosity through their schoolmasterly arrogance, flips, and flops & by opportunistically acting holier than any churches ever did.

    A plan B might be to create an appropriate structure within the CoE47- wherein all these nitty-gritty (pan) European issues (e.g. from Volt etc. as an affiliate & part of the EU27, plus the remaining CoE20 (like UK, Russia) & other worthwhile inputs can be tabled, discussed & tossed around. Eventually, step by step agreed & sent back to all voters for approval.

    Such new European dawn- ‘Forum47’- should reign & exist for however long it might take to find the ultimate E-concept acceptable to all.
    Not more wasteful political think tanking, not more grand conferences, i.o.w. not more back to front approaches- enough of that.

    I believe, with the exception of the CoE- but no one else including the EU can genuinely claim the 12 stars or sing Ode to Joy without the CoE looking in disbelieve over their shoulders!

    To remember:

    This juvenile EU concept is in existence & was established at the Maastricht Treaty in 1993 (= only 28 years ago). The original Organization for all Europeans & its symbols were created in 1949 (72 years ago) & should remain the genuine & mature founder organization of a real Europe of sovereign nations- or as some wish to call it- Pan-Europe.

    However, the traditional name “Europe” does it for me!

  2. avatar

    Just to point out that isn’t a European flag its an EU flag, a political organisation and not a country of Europe or Europe. Europe is a continent, please stop conflating the two. The future of Europe should be one of friendly, sovereign, independent nations who work together and are friend but not paying vast sums to keep failed politicians in a job and perks at the eu.

    • avatar
      EU Reform Proactive

      Hi Chris, did you carefully read the link explaining the relationship- the European flag & the EU flag that (confusingly) serves both bodies?
      once more f.y.i:
      European greetings!

    • avatar
      EU Reform Proactive

      Hi Chris, the DE seems to be a bit slow in posting our comments lately- hope it doesn’t end up a double posting.

      Sorry for the need to correct you: did you carefully read & understood my attached link? Please open & read it (again).
      The one & the same “European/EU flag” was adopted in/by:

      9 December 1955(CoE)
      29 June 1985 (EEC) ……….eventually became the “EU”

      called either, and the:
      European flag
      Flag of Europe
      Flag of the Council of Europe (CoE)
      Flag of the European Union (EU)

      European greetings!

  3. avatar

    Europe have a great future if stays away from wars and conflicts for no reason, example is quite criminal to Provocate Russia in their border, for the favor of a bunch of neonazi racist in Kiev

    • avatar

      Panayiotis Solomou jamais il hausseront provoquer la Russie bien trop puissant et de plus leur allié sont la Chine et l’Inde

    • avatar
      Georg Hennemann

      Ni ĉiuj devus lerni Esperanton por bona interkompreniĝo kaj atingi pli da demokratio en Eŭropo. Nur 25% de la EU civitanoj lernas la anglan sufiĉe bone por povi kompreni TV- aŭ radio elsendojn, kaj tiu nombro ne ŝangiŝ en la lastaj jaroj spite longdaŭra lernado. Se vi ne kredas tiun fakton legu la statistikojn je Eurobarometro

  4. avatar

    Much more true integration, and men like the Portuguese Costa, sent out to jail!!

  5. avatar

    Better train travel i.e. it should be possible to buy cross-border train tickets online, just like for plane tickets. It’s 2021after all ️

  6. avatar

    EU should Just be an economic alliance between EU countries respecting their souvereignty. Without the current Brussels stronghold of bureaucratic power addicted politicians. NO EU superstate!!!

  7. avatar

    Legalisation of marihuana in europe

  8. avatar

    BELXIT quittons l’EU.Belgique P.N.B

  9. avatar
  10. avatar

    not what you have made this last 30 years..

  11. avatar

    The future of Europe will be a devastating with the so called Globalist EU agenda’s

  12. avatar

    Que l’union s’en aille crever ailleurs que sur mon sol..

  13. avatar

    NO, to European’s criminal and medical faschisme!

  14. avatar

    C est le début de la fin de l ue ✌️✌️✌️✌️✌️

  15. avatar

    ont sais même pas mettre image et des fois même ont supprime nos publies même. le droits d’expression oui .

  16. avatar

    you dare to ask that question with a picture of somebody (gender neutral lol) wearing a face mask????If that is your vision on the future, seeing forward, than it’s about time we dismantale that institute.Who gave you the right and permission to sign the UN Agenda 2021 and 2030? You sold all European citizens to a corrupt institution. That is NOT my Europe.

    • avatar

      Guzt Flater super!

  17. avatar
  18. avatar

    the future of Europe? Europe and the World, in a short time to come, in panic and unbelieve about the missing of millions of people across the world, due to the rapture, the wrath of God to come, the judgements with ten plagues, The rising of the Anti Christ, enslave the world with a mark of that kingdom, that wants to be united, but really is divided . And Jesus the King coming back, whooping all their butts and kicking all the evil and rebels in the eternal fire of hell. Yeah, Europe, if ya’ll don’t repent, wouldn’t wanna be ya.

  19. avatar

    AFD rn salvini ellines gia tin patrida ♥️

  20. avatar

    withoud immigrants invading,& politicians outranged in onw country

  21. avatar

    if this goes on , we all are taking ramadan and sugar fests

  22. avatar

    Ban alle extreme right wing parties.

  23. avatar

    Kuis die handel maar op. De EEG leverde een bijdrage aan Europa, de EU is een blok aan de landen hun been.

  24. avatar

    Europeans have no discipline and therefore Europe’s future looks very bad! That’s the simple analysis. Due to lack of education and uncontrolled migration, there is no way back. It’s too late now for change. Europe has failed in many ways.

    • avatar

      Andromeda Atlc same for USA

  25. avatar

    Delete europe, bring back the borders and local money

  26. avatar

    European train.. that goes to all of European nations.. more equality, less payment stresses.. a nation where humans are the capital of the society..

  27. avatar

    Une Europe démocratique et non ploutocratique

  28. avatar

    Welk Europa? Een Europa zonder mensenrechten, een Europa waar mensen bewust verdeeld worden in groepen, een Europa waar je enkel nog mag werken, betalen en vooral zwijgen? Neen dank u, dat is niet het Europa waar ik geboren ben

  29. avatar

    Europe is for Politicals ,not for us the citizens !!!

  30. avatar

    F*ck Europe, it should start to look like before it started.

  31. avatar

    Unfortunately…I see the victory of ultra-liberalism, accompanied by its fascist masters.I see a slave population whose critical thinking and general education are rendered non-existent.I see environmental destruction as imagined in the darkest science fiction.I dreamed of a Star Trek future, they preferred to make 1984.——Malheureusement…Je vois la victoire de l’ultra-libéralisme, accompagné de ses maitres fascistes.Je vois une population esclave dont l’esprit critique et l’éducation générale sont rendus inexistants.Je vois une destruction de l’envirronement telle que l’a imaginé la plus sombre des science-fictions.Je rêvais d’un futur à la Star Trek, ils ont préféré réaliser 1984.

  32. avatar

    terug naar de benelux en het ontbinden van de EU

  33. avatar

    A Europa without the EU parliament, and without freemasons and globalists! They have the power, but we have the numbers!

  34. avatar

    Australian Migration Policy – stop illegal migration!

  35. avatar

    I think you guys don’t care what we think. So why ask the question? I’ll bite and give one hint though: the majority of people want the exact opposite you guys want.

  36. avatar

    I’m thinking, where did you get the material for this article? Is it really out of my head?

  37. avatar

    I hope we have a beautiful future. But i think we are heading for civil war because of eu policies…

  38. avatar

    Get rid of the fascist EU for a start.

  39. avatar

    It seems to me alone that before the creation of the EU and the introduction of a single currency, all countries lived better?

  40. avatar

    At start Europe was an association between country to prevent a future war: a sharing of coal and steel management as the building blocks of any army. And Europe did experience it’s longest period in peace.
    Now that idea, that principle looks long gone, burrowed by internal deals, management, political games of influences.
    Now war is at any land-border of Europe, and now Europe is used as a Troyen horse to force those an army to spill from inside, upon the European populations.

  41. avatar


  42. avatar
    catherine benning

    What do you think the future of Europe should look like?

    I think Europe should look like Europe. As it was, before the take over of anti European leaders with policies going against our heritage. Smite Globalism which is denying our cultural history and the amazing advances in all manner of activity as we went though the ages… We should return to democratic principles, not the pretence of it we have today.

    We have to find a leader or leaders not signed up to the hatred of our wonderful true European citizenship, its history and cultural practice. Stop robbing our people of their hard earned tax money to prop up traitorous billionaires on the back of the open destruction we see today.

    End the import of human slaves our leaders invite on masse, in order to demolish the civilisation we worked so hard to advance. Who voted for the Globalism we see being imposed on our European lifestyle, with a kind of vengeance not previously witnessed across this continent for centuries? Do you know the perpetrators? Are any of them up for election? Or, are they an underclass hidden in shadows?

    The people of this amazing civilisation need to wake up and very quickly indeed. And do it before the evil of this movement brings about our complete demise by brainwashing our minds and children’s minds completely. As a people, we are in serious trouble.

  43. avatar

    Again, with showing that flag in the picture you try to link the eu with europe. The eu isn’t Europe its a socialist globalist political organisation, Europe is a continent of free sovereign countries

  44. avatar

    If we consider that even in Germany, AfD is the one taking the lead, the future of Europe is either democratic and patriotic (national interests come first), or oppressive and f-EUed up (where EU institutions are puppet-ed by USA, which tries to destroy the national identity in Europe, restart cold-wars with Russia, and start new economic wars with China)

  45. avatar

    The future of Europe should be more independent/sovereign rather than acting like a puppet of the US.

  46. avatar

    I’m happy with the idea of being part of Europe and the EU. We need this as we are a small country trying to make our way in the world….Being Part of the EU brings a certain stability and is very important for our banking sector..agriculture benifits greatly too and the EU court of humane rights is great too..our fishing industry needs help as it is very small and deminishing by the minuit with brexit! we also needed the support from the EU in negotiating brexit..anyway at this point in time i think its great to be part of the EU :D greetings from Ireland ☘

  47. avatar

    I don’t like the direction the EU is going. Interfering with health, wanting digital ID’s and wallets without adequate security. I can’t even pay my bills online quickly anymore because I don’t have a smart phone because the EU made it bank law to require an app for authorisation, and I have to wait ages before a text option appears. I have a banking app on my tab device but apparently my O/S is too old and the new banking app update won’t work. The EU is forging ahead when many people can’t even afford a smartphone, or the latest technology because their apps are outdated on their old device. What’s the rush all of a sudden? Why can’t the EU wait for society to catch up technologically and financially?

  48. avatar

    Do you see the man on Merkel’s right and behind Ursula on the photo? That’s the President of Bulgaria. Europe needs more politicians like him. People who actually care about the well-being of their nations.

  49. avatar

    Disband it? give every country a binding referendum on membership?

  50. avatar

    European nationalist-socialist superstate.

  51. avatar

    How about peaceful, just and ecological sustainable?

  52. avatar

    On this day that i celebrated before with my students i just could say that Europe is completely perverted now regarding its former goals. It is now dominated by American and german views multinationals and banking system and forgot the peoples of europe. EURO became a slavery because of the lack of a social and tax policy. Enlargement was too fast making impossible a federal union and common views about diplomacy and defense are almost impossible. Europe became the toy of USA
    Its commercial policy destroyed industry and agriculture in the south of europe and environment with excessive international trade and large part ofour economies is now depending from abroad
    The only positive policy was erasmus

  53. avatar
    JT HK

    Europe means surrendering sovereignty to a country at the other side of the Atlantic Ocean? Without regaining the sovereign decision, Europe would have no future.

  54. avatar
    JT HK

    By following the US/NATO-led sanctions, Europe is suffering from energy shortage and high inflation. With the China US trade war, the US has been trying to prevent China from exploiting the America. US mums are unable to get enough baby formula to feed their babies. When will it be the turn of Europe babies? In my opinion, political leaders please take care of your people before fuelling any conflict. Democracy is about good governance not power struggle:

    • avatar
      JT HK

      Again look what is happening at home of the British who have been taking the key role to fuel the Russia and Ukraine conflict and forced millions of Ukrainian people fled their home. Hundred of these poor Ukrainian refugees are further victimized by their British hosts. This has obliged the British government to remove refugees from their host. It appears that the BREXIT has led to shortage of cheap labour. Rioters of Hong Kong’s Colour Revolution and refugees of Ukraine are dedicated to fill the void?…/hundreds-of-ukrainian…

  55. avatar

    Our future should look “nazi-free”, and all EU politicians, who supported neonazis in Ukraine for the past 8 years should spend life in prison.
    ” in Kyiv the leader of the extreme right-wing party Svoboda, Oleh Tyahnibok, called for ethnic cleansing of the whole country”…/B-7-2014-0221_EN.html

  56. avatar

    No enlargment. Europeans first.. Controlled immigration , smart protectionism… No more free trade agreements to please german car industries, agricultural policy, social and tax policies to avoid competition disrupcies, and make multinationales to pay tax where they work… Stop CEDH to interfere with national laws.. Specially in safety and migration issues…

  57. avatar

    Concentrate on what the citizens want from the eu not the megalomaniac ideas of a few empire building crazy socialists who miss the ussr

  58. avatar

    I think all MEPs need to pass a course in critical thinking, statistics, ethics and freedom rights before they can serve.

    • avatar
      JT HK

      When has critical thinking ever existed in MEPs? Most of them are just populist with mind set trapped in the Cold War. Their stupid ethics and freedom rights are hurting Europe while refusing the “unethical” oil and gas from Russia, they support using the evil and unethical gas of the America, a country which has been engaging in wars consistently and leading to millions of death in war and related sanctions? Europe is a victim of such warmonger that has made millions of people homeless and are now flooding Europe…I see the European parliament is filled with demagogues. They are stupid Cold War mentality is dragging Europe into a third world war, and Europe is bleeding …

    • avatar

      The unelected EU bigwigs serve corporations. Especially the mega corporations of banking, energy, pharmaceutical and defence. They are dividing up global customers in a multipolar fashion. Globalism and free markets isn’t working for them. They need Russia out. The US and EU mega-corporations will then proceed with their plans for the biggest wealth grab of their captive citizens. They will bleed them dry of wealth and income from their insatiable greed and psychotic obsession for power. They want digital currency to charge ridiculous transaction currency conversion tax and get money direct in the black hole pockets .They need dumb MEPs to serve these specific corporations agendas.

  59. avatar

    1st step: Taking care of energy; 2nd step: Crushing the Russians; 3d step: Everybody beatin off🤣

  60. avatar

    The EU Commission members who control the lives of all Europeans should be elected by all Europeans, not by the dark elites.

  61. avatar

    Independent sovereign nations and moving the eu back to a simple trading partnership with no political ambitions.

  62. avatar
    JT HK

    Without money, how can anyone satisfy energy safety and defense their home country? Politicians better stop to bewitch people and divert attention towards a fabricated future. Look at already the most pressing issue. Post-COVID socio-economic recovery should top any agenda before citizens are dying of the cold winter for they cannot afford to pay the energy bill, when they are unable to buy sufficient food to survive. Ukrainians dying in war is a sad thing but it is NATO which has been sending weapons and blocking negotiation. It is EU and NATO which have been indirectly killing the Ukrainians. It EU wants peace, the US from the other side of the Atlantic cannot force EU to go the opposition. This has clearly shown that EU populist politicians want war in Ukraine. By using the hand of the Russians to kill Ukraine and kill Europe by forcing Europe to pay for Ukraine war and block Europe from acquiring foreign investment from China and to push the inflation high by setting political barrier to block commodities and fuel flowing to Europe…When people all over the world are witnessing the murder of Europe, are you citizens of Europe blind to what happening around yourself everyday?

  63. avatar

    Je préfère pas qu’un groupe de terroriste attaque Israël , Il est de l’intérêt de tous les innocents civiles que c’est l’OTAN qui doit affronter Israël , je compte sur la bienveillance du gouvernement allemand .

  64. avatar
    JT HK

    This is a classic case to learn how to combat disinformation. If leaders insist to fuel the Russia and Ukraine military conflict, they are doing no different to killing EU citizens even though they are not sent to the battle ground. Look here, under leadership of bewitching politicians, Europe would be Americanized and towards poverty :…/homelessness-is-lethal…

  65. avatar

    what you should acknowlege is that majority of europeans are right wing but commisdion is doing a left wing policy. then up date your general policy to be demoxratic as you are not elected

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