Conference on the Future of Europe: A Futile Exercise or an Opportunity for the Radical Left?


This paper provides an analysis of the objectives of the Conference on the Future of Europe, conducted by Pedro Chaves Giraldo, lecturer, political scientist and coordinator of the Spanish edition of Le Monde diplomatique.


The Conference on the Future of Europe formally began its work on 9 May 2021. The declared expectations on its importance and scope were high and ambitious. According to representatives of the European institutions, the Conference will seek several simultaneous objectives: an open and unconditional exercise of listening to the diversity of opinions of European citizens; a deliberative practice with the aim of gathering opinions and proposals from these citizens; an effort to ensure that the very practice of debate and discussion contributes to advancing a European public space; and a method of articulating the bottom-up debate aiming at addressing citizens’ mistrust and unease with regards to politics in general and European politics in particular.

The Conference takes place after several simultaneous crises that have put the integration process, European institutions and aims to the test. From the words and texts that the institutions have produced in relation to the Conference, we can deduce that there is an awareness of this diffuse unrest and of the need for political action in order to link European citizens with the integration project and its institutions.

In this ePaper we seek to address the relationship between expectations of what could or should be done and the organisation and functioning of the Conference, in order to anticipate whether (or not) the Conference is in a position to meet such expectations and desires. On the other hand, we also want to answer the question of whether the expectations regarding the Conference are similarly shared by the European institutions and how the Conference fits in the economic and political scenario that the EU is going through, not only in the context of the pandemic and but also taking into account the effects – present and persistent – of the poly-crisis situation that the EU has been going through since 2008.

Finally, we would like to share some reflections on possible scenarios related to the Conference, and the options and opportunities for the radical left.

Please find the ePaper on the left/below (mobile version) in ‘Documents’ (English, PDF).

Table of Contents


Poly-crisis, legitimacy crisis and resilience in the European integration project

The need for profound reforms and the end of the old model of integration