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The war in Ukraine and the (Conference on the) future of Europe

The war in Ukraine and the  (Conference on the) future of Europe

Brigid Laffan
Emeritus Professor, European University Institute
Daniela Schwarzer
Executive Director for Europe and Eurasia, Open Society Foundations
Janis A. Emmanouilidis
Director of Studies, European Policy Centre
Dominik Hierlemann
Senior Expert, Bertelsmann Stiftung
Jacki Davis
Moderator, Meade Davis Communications
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On the morning of the final Conference Plenary, we will hold the eleventh edition of our Conference Conversations series. As the Conference wraps up and prepares its final report, our panellists will reassess where the Conference on the Future of Europe stands in light of global developments.

Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is a watershed moment with immense consequences for the European and global order. As the EU grapples with an all-out war on the continent, the Conference on the Future of Europe might not seem like a priority. Some believe that the Conference should be paused and reassessed. Others argue that the Conference is now more important than ever, and that any delays could delegitimise the process and risk losing the political momentum that could create real change. Does this new era put the Conference into question? Can we still talk about the future of democracy in the EU while more immediate concerns are on the agenda? Is this new reality calling for a stronger need to involve citizens in the debate on the future of Europe?

The Conference Conversations event series is part of the Conference Observatory, a joint initiative by an international consortium comprising the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the European Policy Centre, the King Baudouin Foundation, and the Stiftung Mercator. The Conference Observatory aims to observe, critically analyse and inspire the Conference deliberations. Based on the lessons learned, the initiative will also develop proposals aiming to improve the EU’s future participatory and democratic architecture.


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