18. June 2021

Understanding Europe joins call to include marginalised communities

We join other civil society organisations in an open letter to the Excecutive Board of the Conference on the Future of Europe calling for the inclusion of marginalised communities. Read & join the call!

Dear Co-Chairs and Members of the Executive Board,

The inaugural plenary of the Conference on the Future of Europe is taking place on Saturday, 19th of June. According to the Joint Declaration, the Conference aims “to give citizens a say on what matters to them,” and to take action in response. However, we fear that the Conference will lead to the further marginalisation of citizens and residents that are already sidelined given the process and plans that have been made until now.

The Conference has so far not made adequate provisions to include marginalised and underrepresented communities. The European Citizens’ Panels are the main innovation of the Conference, and a key instrument to reach underrepresented people. Unfortunately, no quotas have been set to ensure the representation of underrepresented groups such as racialised people, LGBTQI+ people, people with disabilities, etc. Additionally, EU residents without EU passports and non-binary people seem to be categorically excluded from the panels. Furthermore, the Conference Plenary – the main decision-making body – does not seem to foresee adequate representation of these groups either.

It is no secret that political institutions, and the European Union in particular, have failed at times to include marginalised communities in their work. For this reason, many people from marginalised communities do not feel represented by the very institutions that are meant to serve them. Instead, they perceive them as contributing to their oppression.

It is in our common interest that this Conference becomes a success, but it can only become a success if all of Europe’s citizens and residents are provided access, included and treated as equal partners in this dialogue. If the EU fails to involve the most marginalised in our society, it will not only fail these communities but it will also fail to gather crucial knowledge about fundamental societal challenges, and the appropriate measures needed to build stronger, inclusive and cohesive societies.

We urge you to meet with us in the coming period to consider the concerns expressed in this letter, and to consult with organisations representing and working with marginalised communities such as some of the co-signatories of this letter.

Moreover, we call on you to develop a strategy of inclusion in relation to the Conference to ensure that marginalised communities are adequately represented and involved in the Conference, and to do so in consultation with civil society actors. We are at your disposal to support this process.

Together we win, divided we fall. We will only make this Conference succeed if it includes all citizens and residents.

We look forward to hearing back from you.


Provisional list of civil society organisations co-signing the letter:

A Buon Diritto Onlus
Allwedo e.V.
Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN)
Citizens Take Over Europe
Civil Society Europe
Culture Action Europe (CAE)
EFF – European Future Forum
Equinox Initiative for Racial Justice
Europe for Scotland
European Alternatives
European Anti-Poverty Organisation
European Association for the Education of Adults
European Center for Not-for-profit Law Stichting (ECNL)
European Citizen Action Service (ECAS)
European Civic Forum
European Environmental Bureau
European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless
European Forum of Muslim Women
European House
European Movement Italy
European Network Against Racism
European Network on Religion and Belief (ENORB)
European Pride Organisers Association (EPOA)
European Roma Grassroots Organisations Network
European Youth Parliament
Extinction Rebellion Czech Republic
Generation Climate Europe (GCE)
Greek Forum of Migrants
Green liberty
Institute of Public Affairs
Junge Islam Konferenz
KISA – Equality, Support, Antiracism
Mundo en Movimiento
Music Theatre International
PICUM – Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants
Regional Roma Educational Youth Assocation-RROMA
School of Political Hope
Schwarzkopf Stiftung
SDG Watch Europe
Society for Sustainable Living/STUŽ
Stand Up For Europe
Tereza Čejková
The ECI Campaign
The European Council of doctoral candidates and junior researchers (Eurodoc)
The Good Lobby
Understanding Europe
Young European Federalists (JEF)

Civil society organisations can co-sign this letter by filling out the following form. After a first deadline on June 18, 2021, 18:00 CEST, the letter was sent to the members of the Executive Board on Saturday morning, 19th of June. Organisations joining the call now are still included in the list of supporters and can stay connected to the call and respective topics.