Milan Declaration on the Rule of Law and Future of Europe

The Civil Society Organizations, indicated below, have signed the following Declaration on the Rule of Law, the Multiannual Financial Framework, the European Conference on the Future of Europe and an Empower Roadmap and have decided to send it to the European Parliament, the European Commission, the European Council, the Council of the Union, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.


Le  sottoscritte organizzazioni della società civile hanno elaborato una Dichiarazione sullo stato di diritto, sulle prospettive finanziarie pluriennali, sulla Conferenza europea sul futuro dell’Europa e sulla democrazia partecipativa. Le proposte essenziali sono state sintetzzate in italiano e in francese.

Les organisations suivantes de la société civile ont souscrit une “Déclaration” sur l’état de droit, les perspectives financières pluriannuelles, la Conférence européenne sur l’avenir de l’Europe e la démocratie participative. Les propositions essentielles ont été resumées en itlalien et en français.



Whereas it is undoubtedly necessary and urgent to have an aggiornamento of the European Union for many reasons: the planetray instability, the very long financial and subsequent economic and social crisis with increasing gaps between people end regions; the follow-up of Brexit as a result of lies and fake news; the rise of nationalism; the manipulation of the information; the challenges faced in Europe as for democracy and human rights; the epochal phenomenon of migrations; the society 5.0, the challenges of climate change and the sustainable development;

Whereas the EU needs to adapt its governance and make a leap towards more resilience, solidarity, justice and trust;

Whereas strengthening governance capacity at the European level is critically important to responding effectively to the complex set of sustainability challenges facing our civilizations;

Whereas a public debate on the future of Europe should be opened after the failure of the Constitutional Treaty in 2005 and more than ten years after the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon in December 2009;

Whereas the lessons learnt from prior consultations, experimented with by the EU and national public administrations, show that they weren’t productive without direct feedback and constructive dialogue with citizens;

Whereas the various experiences at different levels across Europe and at local level made by all our networks have offered innovative examples on how to empower European citizens in the EU and build a truly participatory democracy;

Have reached common points of view on the need to protect and enhance European values, to secure coherence between EU values, objectives and actions as fixed in the articles 2 and 3 of the EU Treaty and the Charter of Fundamental rights, to adopt a democratic and efficient method to change the course of the EU and build a united, fair and resilient Europe.

We pledge the following priorities and the next steps for the EU:

1. The respect of the Rule of Law and the European democracy.

The Rule of Law is at the core of the EU system. It means and requires the respect of legality, the equality of citizens, the legal certainty, the independence of the judiciary, the accountability of the decision-makers and the protection of human rights.

We call on the creation of an objective and impartial mechanism to verify the application of the EU’s values by all the Member States and the EU within the treaties as it has been proposed by the European Citizens Initiative (ECI) on the 8th of April 2019 (

We support the enforcement of the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) in Wien and the constitution of an independent Committee according to the example of the Venice Committee acting in the framework of the Council of Europe.

In view of the review of the Treaties, we suggest that the power to contest the violation of the Rule of Law should attribute to the Court of Justice and introduce the suspension of a Member State according to the art. 8 of the Council of Europe and the art. 5 of the UN Charter.


Noi chiediamo la creazione di un meccanismo obiettivo e imparziale per verificare il rispetto dei valori comuni da parte di tutti gli Stati membri e dall’UE così come è stato proposto dall’iniziativa dei cittadini europei l’8 aprile 2019 ( , il rafforzamento del ruolo dell’Agenzia europea dei diritti fondamentali (FRA), la costituzione di un Comitato indipendente sull’esempio del Comitato di Venezia che agisce nell’ambito del Consiglio d’Europa e, nel quadro della revisione dei trattati, il potere della Corte di Giustizia di constatare la violazione dello stato di diritto e la possibilità di sospendere uno Stato membro come può avvenire nel Consiglio d’Europa e nelle Nazioni Unite.

Nous demandons la création d’un mécanisme objectif et impartiel pour vériifier le respect des valeurs communes par les Etats membres et par l’UE comme il a été proposé par l’initiative des citoyens européens le 8 avril 2019 (, le renforcement de l’Agence européenne des droits fondamentaux (FRA), la constitution d’un Comité indépendant à l’instar du Comité de Venice agissant au sein du Conseil de l’Europe et, dans le cadre de la révision des traités, le pouvoir de la Cour de Justice de constater la violation de l’Etat de droit et la possibilité de suspendre un Etat membre comme c’est le cas dans le Conseil de l’Europe e dans les Nations-Unies.


In this framework we took notice with strong concern of the recent developments in Poland and the new bill introducing severe sanctions for judges who make decisions aimed to defend the independence of the Judiciary. We denounce this unacceptable break of the basic principles of the Rule of Law, namely limiting the freedom of a judge to direct questions to the European Court of Justice, we ask the European Commission to activate the article 258 TFEU as an urgent matter and we support the demonstration that will be organized in Warsaw the 11th of January.


Noi denunciamo l’inaccettabile violazione dei principi essenziali dello Stato di diritto in Polonia con l’attacco all’indipendenza dei giudici, chiediamo alla Commissione di attivare con urgenza l’art. 258 TFUE e sosteniamo la manifestazione che avrà luogo a Varsavia l’11 gennaio.

Nous denonçons la violation inacceptable des principes essentiels de l’Etat de droit en Pologne avec la mise en cause de l’indépendance des juges, nous demandons à la Commission d’activer avec urgence l’art. 258 TFUE et soutenons la manifestation qui aura lieu le 11 janvier à Varsovie.


In view of the essential nature of a strong and independent civil society to any functioning democracy, we encourage the EU institutions and the Member States to combat the rising number of governmentally aligned NGOs and ensure the independence of NGOs across the EU.

We propose measures to increase independent funding opportunities for CSOs and increase transparency for CSOs to decrease the amount of governmentally aligned NGOs, organized and controlled by either governments or political parties.


Noi chiediamo di combattere la crescita di apparenti organizzazioni della società civile legate ai governi, assicurare la indipendenza delle ONG attraverso misure di sostegno e  il  rafforzamento della trasparenza.

Nous demandons de lutter contre la croissance de ONG liées aux gouverements, d’assurer leur indépendance à travers des mesures de soutien et le renforcement de la transparence.


2. The Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) from 2021 to 2025 and from 2026 to 2030

Europe’s leaders agreed in Sibiu that “we will give ourselves the means to match our ambitions. We will provide the Union with the means necessary to attain its objectives and carry through its policies”

It is undeniable that the “negotiating box” presented by the Finnish presidency, significantly smaller than the proposals of the Commission in May and June 2018, is totally inadequate to fulfil the EU’s agenda for the next five years in the fields of SDGs, cohesion, young people, migration and border management, security and external action, research, investment and digital transformation. Moreover, the negotiations have been founded on the “original sin” of the MFF, largely nourished by national contribution without the vigorous support of a EU autonomous fiscal capacity.

We welcome the decision of the European Parliament to freeze the negotiations on MFF making clear that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”.

We ask the European Parliament, the Council and the EU Commission:

- to re-establish the five-years programming of the Delors Package-I and as proposed by the EP (5+5), which is more coherent from an economic and democratic point of view;

- to open a dialogue with CSOs according to the principle of a participatory budget giving the civil society representative the possibility to overlook the process and the decision making;

- to assure that the 2021-2025 and then 2026-2030 MFF are coherent to the SDGs, the European Green Deal and the Agenda 2030;

- to give to the EU its own resources and open the way to a complete co-decision power of the EP (expenses and revenues).


Il “compromesso” della presidenza finlandese è inaccettabile e totalmente inadeguato tenendo conto che i negoziati sono iniziati sulla base della proposta della Commissione europea fondata sul “peccato originale” di risorse provenienti da contributi nazionali senza una capacità fiscale autonoma dell’UE. Accogliamo con favore la proposta del PE di congelare i negoziati con il Consiglio fino a che non ci sarà un accordo globale.

Noi chiediamo al PE, alla Commissione e al Consiglio:

- di ristabilire una programmazione quinquennale

- di aprire un dialogo con la società civile

- di garantire che le prospettive  finanziarie pluriennalisiano coerente con gli obiettivi dello sviluppo sostenibilee, lo European Green Deal e lAgenda 2030

- di  dare al PE poteri di codecisione in materia di risorse proprie

Le compromis de la présidence finlandaise est inacceptable et totalement inadéquat compte tenu du fait que les négociations ont été fondées sur le “péché originel” des propositions de la Commission largement basées sur les contributions nationales sans une capacité fiscale autonome de l’UE. Nous accueillons favorablement la décision du PE de géler les négociations tant qu’il n’y aura pas un accord global.

Nous demandons au PE, à la Commission et au Conseil:

- de re-établir une programmation quinquennale

- d’ouvrir un dialogue avec la société civile

- d’assurer que les perspectives financièree pluriannuelles soient cohérentes avec les Objectifs du Développement Durable, le European Green Deal et l’Agenda 2030

- d’octroyer au PE un pouvoir de codécision en matière de ressources propres.

3. The Conference on the Future of Europe (and the Citizens’ Agora)

The Conference on the Future of Europe is one of the top priorities of the new Commission chaired by Ursula von der Leyen and is due to start in 2020 and run for maximum two years.

Formal arrangements are currently under discussion by the EU institutions following the commitments assumed by the EU Commissioners during the hearings and the work done by the EP Conference of Presidents.

The EESC and the Committee of Regions have expressed from their side a great interest in the Conference on the future of Europe.

We welcome the opinion of the EP Constitutional Affairs Committee (AFCO) underlining that “the 70th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration…can provide further impetus to the Conference” and that “the aim of the Conference should be to engage directly the citizens through a bottom-up approach and that, in the long term, a permanent mechanism for engaging with the citizens in the reflection on the future of Europe should be envisaged”.

We have taken note that “the consultations should be organized using the most efficient, innovative and appropriate platforms, including online tools reaching all parts of the EU, in order to guarantee that any citizens can have a say during the work of the Conference…ensuring youth participation” and that “citizens will…participate in equal conditions as the institutional representatives”.

We welcome the meeting of the three European leaders (David Sassoli, Urusula Von der Leyen and Charles Michel) that will take place at the end of January in the Maison Jean Monnet on the initiative of the EP President and we ask them to share our proposals.

With this in mind, we have renewed calls for a bottom-up, building-site and free-standing and spontaneously organized events.

We suggest modelling these events on the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival to mobilize EU citizens ahead of the Future of Europe Conference. We discussed how a “Europe Future Fringe” would allow citizens to occupy the “spaces in between” whatever consultative processes and citizens dialogues emerge from the inter-institutional negotiations.

We support the proposal for a Europe Future Fringe to run in parallel with the formal consultations with civil society and EU citizens within the framework of the Future of Europe Conference itself. The Europe Future Fringe will be a self-organizing series of events which bring together a diversity of civil society initiatives and events.



Noi sosteniamo la partecipazione della società civile anche attraverso degli Europe Future Fringe per consentire alle associazioni rappresentative di occupare lo spazio pubblico creato dalla Conferenza.

Nous soutenons que la participation de la société civile soit organisée aussi par des Europe Fringe Future Fringe afin de permettre aux ONG d’occuper l’espace public créé par la Conférence.


The Conference on the Future of Europe should be preceded by a  European Common Declaration of European Nobel Laureates and Youth Movements, celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration and offering a vision of the EU of the 21st century that implements the SDGs by 2030.

On May 9th, 2020, the Presidents of all EU Institutions and bodies should open the Conference to address the transformation of EU, drawing inspiration from the European Common Declaration.


Noi proponiamo che la Conferenza sia preceduta da una “Dichiarazione Comune Europea” elaborata dai  Premi Nobel Europei e dai movimenti giovanili in occasione dei settanta anni dalla Dichiarazione Schuman per offrire una visione dell’Unione nel 21mo secolo che dia attuazione agli Obiettivi dello Sviluppo Sostenibile entro il 2030. In questo spirito crediamo che la Conferenza debba essere aperta il 9 maggio 2020 dai presidenti delle istituzioni e degli organi europei.

Nous proposons que la Conference soit précedée par une Déclaration commune européenne redigée par les Lauréats des Nobel Européens et par les mouvements des jeunes à l’occasion du 70ème anniversaire de la Déclaration Schuman afin d’offrir une vision de l’UE dans le 21ème siècle qui réalise les Objectifs du Développement Durable avant 2030. Dans cet esprit nous sommes convaincus que les présidents des institutions et des organes de l’UE doivent ouvrir la Conférence le 9 mai 2020.


The Conference on the Future of Europe should open a public space to build the consensus between the representative and the participatory democracy well beyond mere consultations or citizens dialogues.

In this sense, the Civil Society organization partners of the European Commission and the programs as Europe for Citizens could be a valuable role of chain of information and dialogue with citizens.  A special effort should be played to reach local communities engaging local governments in a coordinated manner.

We suggest that the role of participatory democracy will be played in the framework of deliberative thematic Conventions or Citizens Agora using innovative ways:

- crowdsources

- the participatory budgeting

- block-chains

- contact groups

- cultural and artistic festivals

- transnational Platforms

We favor the use of online platforms which can reach out to up to 450 million citizens by internet or mobile phone.

Such platforms must demonstrate how they can reach those individuals who are most marginalized and excluded from political influence and the answers of all participating population groups must be given weight according to the demographic structure.

Through such online platforms, citizens should be able to prioritize policy challenges in local, regional and macro-regional demographically representative fora linked to Citizens Dialogues.

In face-to-face fora with socio economic and gender representativity the citizens will further develop their visions.

In thematic fora at transnational level and with necessary technical assistance the citizens will develop their  own European policy proposals to be presented and seriously discussed and considered in later thematic conventions that take place in different parts of the European Union with MEPs, the European Commission, Mayors and civil society organisations.


Noi sosteniamo l’idea di piattaforrme online e di forum interattivi di carattere tematico e transnazionali affinché i cittadini possano presentare le loro  proposte in convenzioni tematiche che abbiano luogo in vari paesi dell’UE con la partecipazione di parlamentari, sindaci e organizzazioni della società civile.

Nous soutenons l’idée de plateformes online et de fora interactiifs à caractère thematic et transnational afin de donner la possibilité aux citoyens de présenter leurs propositions dans le cadre de conventions thématiques ayant lieu dans différents pays européens avec la participation de parlementaires, Maires et organisations de la société civile.


Both the Committee of Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee will be active in this process. All citizens fora as well as the thematic conventions should be streamed online and the citizens given the possibility for online feedback.

As concerns the Conference, it should be composed by an equal number of EU and national parliamentarian members (54+54) sitting together in political European groups and involve the Commission and the Council (three members for each Institutions) on equal footing.

A special session of Interparliamentary meetings should take place during the German presidency of EU Council in Berlin or in Rome where the meetings held before the IGC on the Maastricht Treaty (November 1990) and where the EEC and Euratom Treaties have been signed in 1957.

Representatives of ECB, EESC, Committee of Regions, FRA, Eurojust, Social Partners (ETUC, Business Europe and CEEP) as well as Ombudsman and EU Prosecutor should take an active role in the debates and final decisions.

When the Conference will meet in Brussels or Strasbourg it will be hosted by the EP and the secretariat will be provided both by the Commission and the EP. The President will be elected by the Conference between the MEPs. No Presidium or Steering Group will be created.

The Conference should respect two main elements of a true public debate:

- the transnational level with thematic and not national conferences in the Member States or in the Macro-regions avoiding the “Brussels speaks to Brussels”;

- the transparency and publicity of all the debates and the conclusions to be taken with a super-qualified majority.

The Conference must be preceded and accompanied – not tackled – by major proposals and decisions by the EU Institutions on climate change, digitalization, completion of EMU, migration, implementation of the Social Pillar, fight against inequalities and poverty, social market economy, Rule of sLaw as well as the Electoral Law System and the election of EU leaders.

This list means that the Conference shall not replace the role of EU Institutions and the EU decision-making in the development of the common policies.

This development will serve as a stimulus for the debate on the future of Europe while the debate will provide a fertile ground for facilitating consensus-building in the development of common policies.

The Conference will be a unique opportunity to tackle six key issues on:

- the role of EU in a globalized  and instable world where the EU should repudiates wars as conflicts solution;

- the division of responsibilities at all the levels from the local to the European in the framwork of a dynamic and renewed principle of subsidiarity;

- the fiscal capacity of the EU and the weight of the European budget to assure European common goods on the three dimensions of allocation, redistribution and stabilizaton;

- the achievement of SDGs before 2030;

- the political and institutional boundaries of EU and the relationship with the neighboring countries, namely the Mediterranean and Africa;

- the EU democratic governance for a united, fair and resilient Europe.

If a majority consensus will be reached to elaborate a new constitutional Treaty, the best way is to recognize the leading role of the EP in cooperation with the national Parliaments.

At the end of a constituent process, the EU citizens (“sovereignty belongs to the people”) will have to voice their opinion by means of referenda (a pan-European referendum) to be held the same day in all the Member States.



La Conferenza

deve essere formata garantendo la partecipazione ampia ed equilibrata delle istiuzioni dell’UE e dei suoi organi insieme alle associazioni rappresentative del mondo economico e del lavoro
deve assicurare la collaborazione fra il PE e i parlamenti nazionali nel quadro del dialogo  fra famiglie e culture politiche anche attraverso assise interparlamentari
deve riunirsi nei paesi membri e, a Bruxelles e a Strasburgo, nel PE con un lavoro organizzativo affidato ad un segretariato misto PE/Commissione
deve garantire dibattiti transnazionali e trasparenti
non deve sostituirsi ai processi decisionali europei, responsabili dello sviluppo delle politiche comuni: tale sviluppo stimolerà il dibattito sul futuro dell’Europa e tale dibattito faciliterà il consenso sullo sviluppo delle politiche comuni
deve riflettere sulle questioni relative: al ruolo dell’UE in un mondo instabile e globalizzato, alla ripartizione delle responsabilità di governo fra i livelli locale, regionale, nazionale ed europeo, alla capacitò fiscale autonoma dell’UE, alla realizzazione degli Obiettivi dello sviluppo sostenibile entro il 2030, ai confini politici e istituzionali dell’UE e alle relazioni con i paesi vicini in particolare del Mediterraneo e dell’Africa, al governo democratico di un’Europa unita, solidale e resiliente.

Le raccomandazioni della Conferenza devono costituire la prima tappa di una fase costituente che garantisca il ruolo centrale del PE in collaborazione con i parlamenti nazionali che trovi la sua conclusione democratica in un referendum pan-europeo (“la sovranità appartiene al popolo”).

La Conférence

- devra se former en assurant une participation large et équlibrée des institutions de l’U et de ses organes ensemble avec les associations représentatives du monde economiqunstae et social

- doit assurer la collaboration entre PE et parlements nationaux dans le cadre du dialogue entre cultures politiques le cas écheant à travers des assises interparlementaires

- devra se réunir dans les pays membres et, à Bruxelles et à Strasbourg, dans les sièges du PE avec un travail d’organisation confié à un secrétariat mixte PE/Commission

- doit se développer à travers des débats transnationaux, transparents et publics ne devra pas remplacer le processus de décision européen dans le cadre des traités ayant la responsabilité de développer les politiques communes: ce développement stimulera le débat sur l’avenir de l’Europe et ce débat facilitera le consensus sur le développement des politiques communes

- devra débattre notamment sur: l’UE dans un monde instable et globalisé; la repartition des responsabilités de gouvernement entre les niveaux local, régional, national et européen; la capacité fiscale autonome de l’UE: la réalisation des Objectifs du Développement Durable avant 2030; les frontières politiques et institutionnelles de l’UE et les relations avec les pays voisins, notamment la Méditerranée et l’Afrique; le gouvernement démocratique d’une Europe unie, solidaire et résiliante.

Les recommandations de la Conférence devront constituer la première étape d’une phase constituante garantissant la leadership du PE en coopération avec les parlements nationaux ayant sa conclusion démocratique dans un referendum pan-européen (“la souveraineté appartient au peuple”).


4. An Empower Roadmap

The EU needs to adapt its governance towards system leadership for transformational change to be “a global leader of the green economy and just transition, while climate is one of its priority”.

The Conference on the Future of Europe should design an “empower roadmap” making use of UN and World Bank reports demonstrating how digital tools could empower public authorities (at European, national and local levels) and individuals (as citizens, users, consumers, retail investors) to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs and climate agreements.

While addressing the twin crises by design - inequality and the Planetary boundaries - bound together (as the Green New Deal for Europe) our system leadership should aim to three objectives:

· the greatest mobilization of people and resources ever in peacetime;

· innovative governance schemes and societal innovation towards more resilience, solidarity, justice;

· in a digital age, to build trust, share knowledge and monitor use of EU funds.

Milan, 7th January, 2020



For more information: Pier Virgilio Dastoli [email protected] and [email protected] (


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