Future of Europe Debate: Viviane Reding takes French views on board in
The future of Europe, citizens’ rights, and ending the economic crisis will
be the subjects of the 37th Citizens’ Dialogue (see annex), which is taking
place today, 14 November, in Marseille. It will be attended by Viviane Reding,
Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Justice,
Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, and Christiane Taubira, Keeper of the Seals
and Minister for Justice in the French government.
‘I hear people in France asking a lot of questions about the direction the
European Union is taking and, in particular, about how best to find the right
balance between economic objectives and social goals.
What approach should the EU adopt on migration policy?
What does the future hold for our young people?
The European elections in 2014 will be the time for people to make a choice,
and I am encouraged by the fact that 60% of French people say that the European
elections matter to them.
After this dialogue, I hope that the figure will be more like 100%,’ said
‘I am very happy to be here with Mrs Taubira in order to listen to people and
to clarify what Europe means and debate its future.
We’re sending out a clear signal: Europe is a team effort.’
The citizens’ dialogue will take place on 14 November between 5.30 and 8.00
p.m. at the Dock des Suds, 12 rue Urbain V, 13002 Marseille.
It will be an opportunity for people to have a direct exchange with the
Vice-President and the Keeper of the Seals. A number of subjects will be
tackled, in particular the future of Europe and citizens’ rights and
The debate will be chaired by Thierry Bezer (of the France 3 television
Internet users will also be able to follow the debate live and to respond via
Twitter using hash tag #EUDeb8.
What are the Citizens’ Dialogues about?
Since last January when the European Commission initiated the European Year
of Citizens, (IP/13/2), Members of the Commission have been going out to meet
the public and to debate with them.
So far, 36 Citizens’ Dialogues have already taken place across the European
Union, with a Commissioner present on each occasion.
A total of more than 50 such meetings are planned (see annex), all attended
by people holding political office.
The debates, which are open to all, can be followed at
In October, nine meetings took place in Marseille (European Capital of
Culture in 2013), followed by public debates on 23, 24 and 25 October.
These discussions have enabled more than 600 people to debate and exchange
Some 260 contributions have also been centralised on a website dedicated to
the listening process:
The big public debate on 14 November is the last of the series in Marseille.
Throughout the EU, people are exercising their rights on a daily basis. But
they don’t always really know what these rights are.
Getting on for seven out of ten French people would like to know more about
their rights as European citizens (see annex).
That is why the Commission made 2013 the European Year of Citizens, and the
citizens’ dialogues are at the heart of it.
Why is the Commission arranging these dialogues now?
Because Europe is at a crossroads.
With many voices calling for political union, a federation of nation states,
or a United States of Europe, the coming months and years will be crucial for
the future of Europe.
What is more, further European integration must go hand in hand with a
strengthening of the EU’s democratic legitimacy.
Giving people a direct voice is therefore more important than ever.
What will be the outcome of these dialogues?
People’s feedback will help guide the Commission as it draws up its plans.
One of the main purposes of the dialogues is to prepare the ground for the
2014 European elections.
On 8 May 2013 the European Commission published its second EU Citizenship
Report, putting forward 12 new practical measures to resolve problems that
people still come up against (IP/13/410 and MEMO/13/409).
The Citizenship Report is based on a major online consultation launched in
May 2012 (IP/12/461) and on the questions raised and suggestions made by people
during the dialogues on EU citizens’ rights and future.