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Future of Europe: Vice-President Viviane Reding to debate
with citizens in Stockholm
The future of Europe, citizens' rights and the recovery from
the economic crisis are the topics to be discussed at the 33rd Citizens'
Dialogue (see Annex) with Vice-President Viviane Reding and 350 citizens in
The debate will take place on 15 October and Vice-President
Reding will be joined by Swedish Minister for EU Affairs Birgitta Ohlsson,
Member of the European Parliament Olle Ludvigsson and Lord Mayor of the City of
Stockholm, Margareta Björk.
"Sweden is a world leader in promoting innovation:
ABBA, Volvo, Ikea or meatballs - they all originated in Sweden
and have become great hits in
But for me, the probably most important Swedish invention is the institution of
the ombudsman set up to deal with citizens' complaints.
Today the ombudsman has become a central pillar in every
democracy giving citizens a voice.
I can therefore not imagine a better place to discuss with
citizens about how to further strengthen Europe's democratic foundations," said
Vice-President Reding, EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and
"I am looking forward to hearing the ideas of Swedish citizens
and their views and expectations on the future of our Union.
Maybe it's time for another Swedish innovation that will be
exported to Europe!"
The Citizens' Dialogue will take place in the Stockholm City
Hall on Tuesday 15 October from 13:00 to 15:00 CET. It will be moderated by
Richard Olsson, a well-known presenter on Swedish national TV and broadcast live
on Swedish national TV.
The debate will be interactive with participants using voting
devices to share their opinions.
Contributions coming in via social media from people who
cannot attend the event will also be streamed and discussed.
Questions are welcome via Twitter using the hashtag #EUDeb8
and the whole debate can be followed live via webstream on.
What are the Citizens' Dialogues about?
In January, the European Commission kicked off the European
Year of Citizens (IP/13/2), a year dedicated to citizens and their
rights.Throughout the year, members of the Commission are holding debates with
citizens about their expectations for the future in Citizens' Dialogues all over
Vice-President Reding has already held debates in Cádiz
(Spain), in Graz (Austria), in Berlin (Germany), in Dublin (Ireland), in Coimbra
(Portugal), in Thessaloniki (Greece), in Brussels (Belgium) and in
Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg), Warsaw (Poland), Heidelberg (Germany), Sofia
(Bulgaria), Namur (Belgium), Trieste (Italy) and Helsinki (Finland).
Many more Dialogues will take place all over the European
Union throughout 2013 and in the first few months of 2014 – which will see
European, national and local politicians engaging in a debate with citizens from
all walks of life.
Follow all the Dialogues at website indicated below.
A lot has been achieved in the twenty years since the
introduction of EU Citizenship:
A recent Eurobarometer survey shows that 69% of Swedes feel
European (62% on average for EU citizens).
However, only 55% say that they know what rights EU
At the same time 75% of Swedes want to know more about their
rights as EU citizens.
This is why the Commission has made 2013 the European Year of
Citizens, a year dedicated to citizens and their rights.The Citizens' Dialogues
are at the heart of this year.
Why is the Commission doing this now?
Because Europe is at a crossroads.
The coming months and years will be decisive for the future
course of the European Union, with many voices talking about moving towards
political union, a Federation of Nation States or a United States of Europe.
Furthermore, European integration must go hand in hand with
strengthening the Union's democratic legitimacy.
Giving citizens a direct voice in this debate is therefore
more important than ever.
What will be the outcome of the Dialogues?
The feedback from citizens during the Dialogues will help
guide the Commission as it draws up plans for a future reform of the EU.
One of the main purposes of the Dialogues will also be to
prepare the ground for the 2014 European elections.
On 8 May 2013 the European Commission published its second EU
Citizenship Report, which puts forward 12 new concrete measures to solve
problems citizens still have (IP/13/410 and MEMO/13/409).
The Citizens' Report is the Commission's answer to a major
online consultation held from May 2012 (IP/12/461) and the questions raised and
suggestions made in Citizens' Dialogues on EU citizens' rights and their future.