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EU: European Parliament and Commission, international conference on citizens’ rights and democratic participation

(Brussels) “Simplifying and facilitating the exercise of EU citizens’ rights in their daily life, as well as to promote our common values and democratic participation”: these are the objectives of the international conference that will take place in Brussels on 15 March, with contributions from about 50 speakers from all over Europe. The event, jointly organized by the European Commission and the European Parliament, is a response to the common need to engage citizens in the integration process. “On this occasion – a statement from the two European institutions reads -, politicians, experts, professionals and civil society will have the opportunity to discuss in two panels on possible solutions and the way forward” to make the rights enshrined in the treaties a reality. Our “European citizenship”, for instance, includes the right to travel freely within the EU (a topical issue considering the Schengen agreement); the right not to be discriminated against on any grounds; and the right to vote and stand as a candidate in municipal and European Parliament elections wherever one lives in the EU. There is also the right to diplomatic assistance abroad, to petition the European Parliament, and to sign a European Citizens’ Initiative (a legislative proposal)… These are all issues that will be discussed during the debate that will take place at the European Parliament in Brussels (from 9am to 5.30pm).

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