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Citizens’ Dialogue in Stockholm

English

From the Artic Circle to the Oresund

The Citizens' Dialogue with Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding, Swedish EU Affairs minister Birgitta Ohlsson and Member of the European Parliament Olle Ludvigsson brought over 450 citizens from all parts of the country to Stockholm City Hall. The event was the highlight of a series of debates which was launched in November 2012 and which has seen such events in all parts of Sweden. "The Citizens' Dialogues are a new way to directly engage with the citizens," Vice-President Reding said. "Now, national governments have started to have these kinds of debates as well, and soon the candidates for the elections to the European Parliament will engage in discussions with their constituents."

Although Sweden has not been hit by the crisis as severely as some other Member States, citizens expressed their concerns about the situation on the labour market, in particular for young people. "Jobs need to be the priority in order to boost people's confidence," Mr Ludvigsson underlined, and Ms Reding reiterated that she was in favour of new rules for the export of unemployment benefits to other Member States than the citizens' home country.

Fundamental rights issues within the EU but also the situation of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants were addressed by many participants. Vice-President Reding defended the principle of open borders in the EU against those governments who want to restrict the freedom of movement and who do not tackle discrimination on grounds of ethnic origin: "I am willing to fight even if it is not popular."

As first Commissioner in charge of justice Ms Reding explained how the Commission has progressively been bolstering the procedural rights of citizens across Europe, so that they can feel safe across borders. She addressed concerns of citizens regarding the abuse of the European Arrest Warrant, and said that the EU would speak up and act to ensure the respect of democratic principles and the full independence of courts.

Very much in line with most Europeans, three out of four participants were in favour of a closer Political Union. "We should clearly show where it is important to have "more Europe", for example in areas such as climate change and environmental protection or in combating human trafficking," Minister Ohlsson said.

Ms Ohlsson and Mr Ludvigsson underlined their commitments to continue with the dialogues at national level, and Vice-President Reding said that the results of all events would feed into a political report at the end of the Citizens' Dialogues series.

50 Citizens' Dialogues are taking place in all Member States between September 2012 and March 2014. Commission President José Manuel Barroso, Vice-President Reding and practically all Commissioners engage in these debates with citizens from all walks of life.

Svenska

Från Nordpolen till Öresund

Medborgardialogen med kommissionens vice ordförande Viviane Reding, EU-minister Birgitta Ohlsson och Europaparlamentarikern Olle Ludvigsson samlade 450 personer från hela Sverige i Stockholms stadshus. Evenemanget var höjdpunkten på en rad debatter som startade i november 2012 och som har hållits i olika delar av Sverige. Medborgardialoger är ett nytt sätt att ha direktkontakt med allmänheten, säger vice ordförande Viviane Reding.Nu har också ländernas regeringar börjat hålla sådana debatter, och snart kommer kandidaterna till Europaparlamentsvalet att börja föra diskussioner med sina väljare.

Även om Sverige inte har drabbats lika hårt av krisen som vissa andra länder var debattdeltagarna bekymrade över arbetslösheten, särskilt bland ungdomar.
Jobb måste prioriteras för att stärka människors förtroende, underströk Olle Ludvigsson.
Viviane Reding förklarade att hon vill se nya regler så att man kan ta med sig sina arbetslöshetsförmåner till andra EU-länder.

Många tog upp de grundläggande EU-rättigheterna, men även situationen för asylsökande, flyktingar och invandrare. Viviane Reding försvarade principen om öppna gränser i EU mot de länder som vill begränsa den fria rörligheten och inte bekämpar etnisk diskriminering:
Jag tänker kämpa även om det är inte populärt.

Som EU:s rättvisekommissionär förklarade Viviane Reding hur kommissionen har stärkt medborgarnas processuella rättigheter så att de kan känna sig säkra i hela EU. Hon bemötte också deltagarnas farhågor om att den europeiska arresteringsordern skulle kunna missbrukas, och lovade att EU skulle stå upp och verka för respekten för demokratiska principer och domstolarnas fullständiga oberoende.

I likhet med de flesta i EU svarade tre av fyra deltagare att de stödde en fördjupad politisk union.
Vi bör klart visa inom vilka områden det är viktigt att ha ”mer Europa”, till exempel klimatfrågor, miljöskydd och kampen mot människohandel, sa Birgitta Ohlsson.

Birgitta Ohlsson och Olle Ludvigsson underströk båda att de tänker fortsätta med dialogerna på riksplan, och Viviane Reding sa att resultaten från alla debatter ska bidra till en politisk rapport när alla medborgardialoger har hållits.

Från september 2012 till mars 2014 hålls 50 medborgardialoger i alla EU-länder. Kommissionens ordförande José Manuel Barroso, vice ordförande Viviane Reding och praktiskt taget alla kommissionärer deltar i dessa debatter med invånare från alla samhällsgrupper.

In brief

  • WITH

    Vice-President Viviane Reding, Member of the European Parliament Olle Ludvigsson and Birgitta Ohlsson, Swedish Minister for EU-Affairs

  • ABOUT

    European citizens that will come together to share their view on their citizen rights, the European economic crisis and the future of Europe.

    This is the chance for Swedish citizens to speak directly to EU politicians about their rights, the kind of Europe they want to live in, and their expectations for the European Union. Their opinions will feed into future Commission proposals on strengthening rights in a Union where those rights are fully respected.

  • LIVE
  • WHERE

    Stockholm City Hall, Sweden

  • WHEN

    15 October, at 13.00-15.00 CET

Comments from the live debate