The main European Union institutions – the European Parliament, the European Council and the European Commission – have launched an important initiative. They invite European citizens to tell policy makers about their wishes, ideas and proposals for the future of the European Union – our future. Although it is called the “Conference on the Future of Europe”, the project is all about listening to the results of bottom-up discussions between ordinary people.
Anyone interested in our future can – via the Conference’s multilingual digital Platform – share their ideas, create debates, organise and/or join events, etc.
Participatory initiatives* are increasingly used to give people a say on what matters to them, complementing and strengthening representative democracy – and indeed numerous cases studies have shown their usefulness and success. Pedagogically speaking, it is also an opportunity to raise awareness about citizenship and Europe, and to stimulate civic education.
As a secondary school teacher, you have the Conference on the Future of Europe as a unique occasion to organise an activity in your class – or involving different classes in your own school, between schools, or even between twinned schools – that leads to a concrete follow-up at EU level.
(*) Background information on participatory initiatives: Innovative Citizen Participation and New Democratic Institutions - Catching the Deliberative Wave (OECD, June 2020 – in English and French only)
You can initiate a discussion amongst the students/pupils in your class or between classes or schools, around a contemporary issue, alongside one of the 10 topic areas defined on the Conference’s multilingual digital Platform.
How should I do that?
Follow the steps below. You will find more details in the “Conference tool kit”, as well as useful links in the box below:
- Choose a specific topic for discussion from the different themes identified on the multilingual digital Platform. This can be done collectively in the class.
- To dig into some specific topics and prepare your students for the discussion, you may want to use some of the material available on the Learning Corner.
- Decide whether you want to involve one or several classes, in one or several schools (think of twinned schools for pan-European debates) and reach out to them to prepare the discussion.
- Decide whether the exercise should be organised in person, virtually, or in a hybrid format.
- Agree on the official ‘event organiser’, i.e. the person – presumably a teacher – who will also register and report on the event directly on the Platform.
- Host your open discussion in your choice of format.
- Build a discussion that ends with concrete ideas and proposals. Please check the “guide for making your event more inclusive” to make sure participation is wide-ranging and quality-driven.
- Upload your ideas and proposals on the Conference online Platform (event reporting). This would be the responsibility of the event organiser (see the “website guide for event organisers”).
Do not hesitate to ask for help from your local Europe Direct centre to help you through the process.
In addition to reporting on the ideas and proposals derived from your students’ discussions (event reporting), everybody can share their ideas on the Platform, comment on others’ proposals, and promote these on social media. The digital Platform is a multilingual tool: thanks to automated real-time translation, anybody can comment and exchange ideas in all EU official languages, and interact freely with others. Platform users should respect the “rules of participation” and the principles defined in the “Conference Charter”.
For social media sharing, please use the hashtag #TheFutureIsYours. We suggest you tweet about your event and its conclusions, retweet and tag actors in your portfolio to drive support for your ideas.
Constructive and concrete ideas submitted on the Platform will be collected and discussed by Panels of 800 randomly selected European citizens across the EU – 1/3 of which belonging to age group 16-25. The European citizens’ panels will then propose recommendations to the Conference Plenary, which will agree, by Spring 2022, on the final recommendations for follow-up by the European institutions.
Ready for the challenge? Have a look at...
- The multilingual digital Platform, its 10 topic areas and related material available on Learning Corner
- The rules of participation and the principles defined in the Conference Charter
- The Platform’s information material section, including infographics on the conference process and timeline, the composition of the Plenary, and the role of the European Citizens’ Panels
- The conference tool kit, in particular the:
- step-by-step guide for event organisers:
- website guide for event organisers
- guide for making your event more inclusive
… and contact the nearest Europe Direct Centre for guidance.