I attended the CoFoE’s 2nd plenary today, I used the livestream feed which I don’t think had language translation, nor live captioning; I also finished my review of the Digital Platform contributions in the Democracy stream.

Here are my notes from the day, my analysis of the Digital Platform will come later.

  1. Are people calling for a federal Europe, they are calling for programmes? They seem keen on abolishing the veto and introducing more elections, especially for the President of the Commission, but this may be based on an anti-Council feeling and I am not sure where that can go.
  2. The digital platform? Why didn’t they outsource it to reddit? (Is the multilingual functionality what makes it hard to allow people to know that they are essentially duplicating calls?) I mean it’s nothing special as a web portal, it’s search function is poor, a cross between a hierarchy and keyword search.
  3. I hear another speech, in favour of social protection, it and the environment have a big footprint here. They are not so interested in institutional reform.
  4. The Western Balkan speakers are very keen on their dual identity as Balkans and Europeans.
  5. Verhofstad summarised his view on what the CoFoE digital platform/bulletin board says. Po9pular proposals includes the election of the President of the Commission with which I disagree and adjustment, probably abolition of the Veto and a strengthening of the social pillar. The views on immigration and borders might not be so progressive. However, the most engaged in proposal on migration is authored by the ETUC and tales a progressive position, although not all the comments are!  Views on the Veto and election of the President of the Commission may be based on an anti-Council feeling.
  6. At least one member of the plenary points out that only 15% of the e-participants in the digital platform were women, she argues we need to do better.
  7. It’s rather wonderful hearing all these foreign language speeches, and knowing they want me to hear and understand! Sadly of course, I can’t because they are not providing translation on the live feed. Was it Farage who objected to hearing ‘forin’ on the trains? Go Away (4,3)
  8. On the Veto in the EU (and the UN); it represents a political and economic reality; it’s the reality that needs to change, not the rules.
  9. I have a feeling that many people did not look to see what others wanted before adding their proposals! There’s a lot of duplication. (It’s very hard to see if what you want is there already).
  10. A speaker has just critiqued the Digital Platform for being too integrationist, she says that we need to listen to those that don’t want to go that fast.
  11. We don’t want this to be just a talking shop! – Then stop talking bollocks! Although this is a serious point, a minority want the CoFoE to continue to develop a plan and be part of monitoring progress. Others see this as part of the call for Citizen Assembles.
  12. Looking at all these CoFoE proposals, we have a lot to learn from the US Constitution, although mainly about its failures. These failures, I suggest, have been caused by the corruption of the separation of powers, the obsolescence of the electoral college, and the sectarian failure of the Senate based on the winner take all nature of democratic politics and its unequal representation of people. See also this! A better start point, or end point would be Germany.
  13. The very short speech limitations in the EU, make using a 2nd language more difficult.
  14. Structural reform of the EU, will follow stronger identification [ as Europeans]  at the periphery, it can’t precede it.
  15. There is a frustration about velocity when seeking consensus, but consensus is a legitimate way of making decisions.
  16. I am at the CoFoE plenary, online, the talent in Europe’s politicians and aspiring politicians is awesome, at least those that speak English. I suspect one reason we lost the referendum and left is because too many British politicians know this and are frightened of the comparison.
  17. “The downsides of non-membership are not well understood within the EU” a delegate to the CoFoE plenary; I say just look at us!
  18. There’s a proposal on the CoFoE portal to deprecate English. This is an example of where polarising decision making doesn’t help. What is Europe’s second choice language; assuming that they choose their native tongues first? Although one contributor suggests that now we’re out, there is no large country patron, which makes English easier to adopt as the EU’s lingua franca. There is also a proposal that now the UK has left, it is easier to adopt English as it can no longer be seen as a ‘big country’ imposition.
On the Conference on the Future of Europe
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One thought on “On the Conference on the Future of Europe

  • 25th October 2021 at 9:53 am

    Looking at my notes and analasys of the democracy stream proposals, I have tagged some as ‘Federalism’; I am not sure this is right. There is an anti-veto, anti-council thing going on here. These people want a deeper integration and possibly see the European Council/Council of Ministers which is designed as the voice of the member states as a brake. As I say above the reality needs to change, and programmes like the Social Pillar, Health, Education and even crime and justice need to be developed and rolled out. Critically for AEIP and Brits living in the EU we need greater collaboration on the citizenship laws to allow full citizenship rights for all residents and schengen visa holders inc. the right to vote and if resident travel within the EU.

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