COFOE: Shady procedures contributing to shady conclusions

While all eyes are on the war in Ukraine, attention for the “Conference on the Future of Europe” (COFOE) has fallen to record lows. Despite this, the exercise is being continued, and at one point some final conclusions will be due that will then result in some kind of recommendation to the leadership of the European Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission.

In order to come to this conclusion, working groups preparing the COFOE plenaries have been coming up with “reports” and “recommendations”.

To nobody’s surprise, these suggestions amount to little more than repeating the wish list of the EU – federalist usual suspects. These range from scrapping national veto powers in the Council to increased EU intervention in the Ukrainian war.

For now, it is still unclear how these recommendations are to be implemented in EU policy-making, as discussions on this are currently ongoing, with the final CoFoE meeting taking place on 9 May 2022.

Euractiv notes that in this regard, CoFoE’s plenary meetings, which are supposed to process the recommendations, are a cause for concern, as “a lack of clear follow-up procedures has also led to concerns over transparency in the addressing and implementing of recommendations.” It quotes Danish citizen Petersen Troels De Leon complaining:

“I expected that politicians would have given suggestions on how to meet our requests, instead of making general statements or trying to put topics on their agendas, which have nothing to do with our recommendations.”

He reportedly added that some MEPs explicitly said they would only work on recommendations they were interested in.

In other words, the whole procedure to come to official suggestions for the future of Europe (or rather the EU) is as shady as can be …

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