While big corporations and lobby groups enjoy access and influence upon global institutions and international decision makers, it is rare that citizens and NGOs are given the opportunity to speak up – and more importantly to be heard – in Europe.
Social movements and minority groups are often at the periphery of the centres of power. For their part, stateless nations still lack solid procedures to partake in decision making at a European scale, and in some cases their citizens are underrepresented in European institutions.
The Conference on the Future of Europe offers a slim chance for those voices to be heard.
It provides us an important opportunity to debate and discuss and share our ideas and values to form another Europe. It is our ambition that this new Europe will respect the right to self-determination, subsidiarity and greater multi-level governance while promoting a true cultural and linguistic diversity and a fairer, socially just and greener Europe.
To achieve our vision and goal for Europe, we aim at promoting greater social cohesion, consolidate women’s rights, counter racism and champion climate justice that ensures no one is left behind. In a Europe for all peoples, we should acknowledge and promote the right to decide democratically whether one wants to become an independent Member State or enjoy greater devolved powers and political autonomy as a way to guarantee better social and political rights of its citizens. Hence, we support the stateless nations, regions, and minorities as well as a stronger role for the local and regional authorities in the EU institutions.
But for us to achieve such a vision, we must be proactive if we ever hope to influence this timely democratic exercise. That’s why we want to bring together community leaders, academics, human right advocates from places like the Basque Country, Catalonia, Scotland, Wales, Corsica, Galicia, Cornwall, Ireland or Flanders to raise issues often neglected.
We want to pay special attention to cultural and linguistic diversity and how to promote Europe’s minoritised languages. We want to work towards improving our democracy and ensuring all voices are heard, as well as developing institutional systems to implement the right of self-determination at the EU level. We want to outline a Europe of tomorrow that recognises all voices and that supports peaceful and democratic conflict resolution efforts.
On 7 December 2021, Coppieters Foundation and Iratzar Fundazioa will be knocking on the door of the EU with ideas for this consultative exercise, with our event The future is in our hands: Contribution to the Conference on the Future of Europe to address these and more issues.
Let’s work together to use our diversity to strengthen our democracy and shape a Europe of the Peoples for the years to come. The floor is yours: come join us for this debate and let’s take the future of Europe into our hands.
President of the Coppieters Foundation
Brussels, 7 December 2021