Conference on the Future of Europe

“The future is in your hands” – That was the motto of the conference on the future of Europe. What should the European Union of tomorrow look like? What specifically needs to change for this to happen?

This unique experiment in democracy, historic at the European level, provided a platform for such discussions. Mandated by the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council and conducted by ifok and its partners, it relied on online and offline events and on European, national, regional levels as well as on a multilingual interactive digital platform. A rerun is being considered.

The central component were the four European citizens’ panels, in each of which up to 200 randomly selected citizens from all EU member states made suggestions for the future development of the European Union. In the citizens’ component, these suggestions were then further developed by citizens and politicians into recommendations for the future of Europe.



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The video is a summary of the first meeting of the first European Citizens’ Council on: A stronger economy, social justice, employment/education, culture, youth and sport/digital transformation.

Project overview

  • Partner :Missions Publiques, Danish Board of Technology, Deliberativa, Teamwork, Kantar, VO Europe
  • Duration :March 2021 until June 2022
  • Keyfacts :800 citizens from 27 EU Member States
  • 8 offline and 4 online sessions of the Citizens’ Panel
  • 7 meetings of the plenary
  • Multilingual discussions in 24 languages
  • Innovative cooperation between citizens and politicians

ifok organised the European Citizens’ Panels as part of the Conference on the Future of Europe

ifok and its partners were responsible for the conception and implementation of the European citizens’ panels: from the design of the analog and digital sessions to the involvement of experts and the moderation of the 24-language, simultaneously interpreted sessions. ifok did pioneering work in this area: by means of automatic translation in specially programmed multilingual worksheets and deliberative processes that take into account the multilingualism of the participants, ifok and its partners set standards for a new form of transnational citizen participation at the European level.

ifok designed the plenary and supported the citizens during its realization

ifok and partners supported the conception of the plenary, the integration of the results of the citizens’ panels, the cooperation between citizens and politicians in the working groups and in the plenary, as well as the preparation of citizens’ contributions to the debate. ifok also did pioneering work here: the joint, innovative discussion between random citizens and politicians at eye level resulted in reform proposals for the further development of the European Union that were acceptable to all sides. Never before had this been done at the European level – and it was a complete success!

ifok services



Event management

Project management

Our goals

Design a successful multilingual deliberation process, both on-site and in digital sessions.

Develop concrete recommendations for action that are based on a balanced opinion-forming process, a solid factual basis and that are politically connectable.

Provide a model for future deliberation processes at EU and transnational level.


The main moderation team for the first session of the first citizens´ panel were Jacob Birkenhäger (ifok) and Kathrine Collin Hagan (DBT). The first session took place in the building of the European Parliament building in Strasbourg.
A large part of the citizens’ work takes place in multilingual working groups of 12-14 citizens.
Leading EU experts impart knowledge and support a fact-based opinion-forming process.
Guy Verhofstadt, Member of the European Parliament and co-chair of the Conference on the Future of Europe, highlights the role of the citizens in the future development of the European Union.

Your contact persons

Jacob Birkenhäger

Business Unit Manager | Deliberation, Open Government, Democracy

Phone+49 30 536077-45

Dr. Constantin Schäfer

Managing Consultant | Deliberation, Open Government and Democracy in Europe

Phone+49 6251 8263-192

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