Conference Observatory

Insights, in-depth analysis, Ideas Papers News Comments Conversations Recommendations

The Conference on the Future of Europe Front and centre

About Us

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 aims to observe, analyse critically and inspire the deliberations on the Conference on the Future of Europe.

The Conference on the Future of Europe is a citizen-led series of debates and discussions. In this first-of-a-kind pan-European democratic exercise, citizens from all across Europe are sharing their ideas on how to shape the future of Europe.


Dr. Dominik Hierlemann

Bertelsmann Stiftung
Senior Expert


European Policy Centre
Director of Studies



Comments, Insights and Recommendations

What should the Conference look like? What are the main obstacles to success? How can citizen participation be effective and meaningful? With our publications we shed light on the set-up of the Conference, its proceedings, and its policy discussions.

Photo by Maheshkumar Painam on Unsplash

The debate on the future of Europe has a German problem

The Conference on the Future of Europe can only lead to tangible results if Germany puts its full weight behind it – and fast. But with the upcoming federal elections and the change in government, there is a risk that Berlin will be too distracted.

After multiple delays, the Conference on the Future of Europe has finally started. But the endeavour still faces numerous hurdles. First, European citizens – who are meant to play a leading role in the upcoming European Citizens’ Panels, national events and the Conference Plenary – are not aware that the Conference is taking place. Second, the complex process needs to gain speed, given that the Conference is supposed to come up with a Final Report in spring 2022. Third, the list of issues to be covered is extensive, even though experience suggests that exercises in citizen participation are most successful when they focus on particular topics and specific questions.

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“Una casa para todos”: Observations from the first European Citizens’ Panel of the Conference on the Future of Europe

Last weekend, 180 citizens from all over the European Union gathered in Strasbourg for the first European Citizens’ Panel of the Conference on the Future of Europe. EPC analysts Johannes Greubel and Corina Stratulat were there to observe. They share their first impressions in a special report for the Conference Observatory.

Besides a comprehensive description of the process and the overall atmosphere in Strasbourg, the report assesses the chosen methods and procedures. It also highlights a few kinks that could – and should – be ironed out in the course of the Conference.

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Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash

Multilingual Digital Platform of the Conference on the Future of Europe – Interim Report August 2021

With the Conference on the Future of Europe, the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission have created an opportunity for European citizens from all 27 Member states to engage in a debate on Europe’s challenges and priorities in order to create together a Europe fit for the future. As part of the Conference process, a Multilingual Digital Platform (referred to in the following as ‘the platform’) was launched on 19 April 2021 ( and will remain live throughout the work of the Conference.

The aim of this report is to give a first overview of citizens’ contributions on the platform notably in view of the European Citizens’ Panels, which will start their work from mid-September. It covers findings on contributions during an initial period from 19 April to 2 August 2021.

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EventS & Multimedia

Past and future events, Conference Conversations, Reflections

In the interactive “Conference Conversations” our experts together with high-level guests talk about the latest developments in the Conference and discuss how the process can be improved. Find out more about our next events here.