The opening of the debate on the future of Europe on 7 March 2001 is marked by a message from Romano Prodi published on the Futurum site. The President of the Commission reviews the situation following the signing of the Treaty of Nice and invites citizens to express their views on the political future of the European Union.
On 25 April 2001, the Commission establishes the scope of the debate on the future of Europe, which was launched on 7 March 2001. It lists the parties who will be involved, suggests specific actions and assesses the financial impact of launching the debate.
On 7 June 2001, on behalf of the Senate delegation for the European Union, Hubert Haenel submits an information report on the idea of a European Constitution. The report is a contribution to the debate on the future of Europe, in which the national parliaments have also been invited to participate.
On 13 June 2001, on behalf of the Senate delegation for the European Union, Daniel Hoeffel submits an information report on the idea of a second European chamber. The report emphasises the importance of the question of bicameralism in the debate on the future of Europe, in which the national parliaments have also been invited to participate.
On 7 March 2002, the French Senate presents a summary of its contribution to the debate on the future of Europe and the future work of the European Convention. It mainly refers to three information reports that it has published on the themes of a European Constitution, a possible second chamber and the distribution of the European Union’s powers and responsibilities.
The Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union submits to the European Council, meeting in Göteborg on 15 and 16 June 2001, its report dated 8 June on the many encouraging initiatives taken in connection with the debate on the future of Europe since it was launched on 7 March.
At the Gothenburg European Council, held on 15 and 16 June 2001, the Heads of State or Government of the Fifteen draw up guidelines concerning, in particular, the future of Europe, the next stages of enlargement of the European Union and the modernisation of its institutions.
As part of the national debate on the future of Europe, the French National Assembly holds a conference on 7 and 8 November 2001 where for the first time, in a demonstration of participatory democracy, around a thousand citizens are given the opportunity to debate the future challenges facing Europe.
On 26 November 2001, the Italian Senate’s Third Committee and Council for European Community Affairs submit their report concerning the debate on the future of Europe, drawn up jointly with the Third and Fourth Committees of the Chamber, to the Presidency. This report is the basis of the parliamentary debates that will inform the government’s position at the Laeken European Council.
On 28 November 2001, on the basis of the report by the Third Committee and Council for European Community Affairs, the Italian Senate holds a debate on the future of Europe and adopts a resolution inviting the government to ask the Laeken European Council to draft a federal constitution by setting up a Convention.
In Italy, the Presidents of the Chambers launch the debate by promoting the ‘For the future of Europe’ event on 30 November 2001 in the Palazzo Montecitorio. The aim of this event is to encourage initiatives and information on the reforms that the European Council is preparing to debate in Laeken.
Published in December 2001, the Charting Europe together report (Ensemble, dessinons l’Europe) by the ‘Debate on the Future of Europe’ Group chaired by Guy Braibant analyses the results of the various contributions and summarises the contributions of the French institutions invited to take part in the debate with annexed reproductions of various documents.
One year after the Intergovernmental Conference held in Nice in December 2000 which launched the ‘Debate on the future of the European Union', the Laeken Declaration of 15 December 2001 redrafts and gives tangible form to the issues raised in Nice regarding a reform of the institutions. Accordingly, the Declaration sets out the key issues to be discussed at a Convention on the Future of Europe, whose inaugural session is to take place in Brussels on 28 February 2002: the division of competences between the Union and its Member States, the simplification of the Union's legislative instruments, the maintenance of interinstitutional balance and an improvement to the efficacy of the decision-making procedure, and the constitutionalisation of the Treaties.