President of the Renew Europe Group in the European Committee of the Regions (Renew Europe CoR) François Decoster, Mayor of Saint-Omer and World Mayor 2021 finalist (results announced on 14 September), discussed Europe’s future with regional leaders and leaders of European political parties at the Bled Strategic Forum last week.
For Decoster it was a return to Bled fourteen years after his first attendance with the then French Minister for Higher Education, research and innovation Valérie Pécresse, currently the President of the Regional Council of the île-de-France region.
During this year’s Forum, Decoster participated in a debate as representative of the European Committee of the Regions on the objectives of the Conference on the Future of Europe. Decoster, together with Mirja Vehkaperä (Chair of the city board of Oulu, Finland) and Paula Fernández (Viaña, Minister of the Interior, Justice and Foreign Action in the government of Cantabria) form the Renew Europe CoR delegation. In addition to this Renew Europe CoR delegation as part of the European Committee of the Regions, Renew Europe CoR member Simone Beissel, Deputy Mayor of Luxembourg City, also participates on the Conference on the Future of Europe, representing her country.
Decoster discussed how European political families differ in their visions and plans for the future of European integration, whether the EU needs a new economic and fiscal framework, whether the distribution of competencies and powers between the EU and its member states is fit for the 21st century, or whether an institutional overhaul of the EU is desirable, for example in a federal or confederal direction, and how can the quality and representativeness of EU democracy be improved.
The Bled Strategic Forum has evolved into a leading international conference in Central and South-Eastern Europe, offering a platform to express and contrast opinions on modern society and its future. The purpose of the Forum is to gather participants from various fields with diverse knowledge and encourage them to exchange views and seek innovative solutions to present and future challenges.
The Conference on the Future of Europe is a unique opportunity to strengthen the democratic dimension of the European Union and to restore citizens’ trust in the European project. A specific website has been set up for this purpose.
Photo credit: Renew Europe CoR