Just two days after President José Manuel Barroso’s State of the Union address, the debate on the future of Europe is coming to Namur. On 13 September, Vice-President Viviane Reding and Minister-President of Wallonia and the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, Rudy Demotte, will discuss Europe’s way out of the economic crisis, citizens’ rights and Europe’s future with over 350 citizens, many of them young people.

Viviane REDING, EU commissionner

Viviane REDING, EU commissionner

“In a little over 8 months, Belgians and citizens across Europe will be taking to the polls to vote on Europe’s future in the May 2014 European Parliament elections” said Vice-President Viviane Reding. “I believe this is a unique opportunity for citizens to make their voice heard and thereby develop and strengthen a true parliamentary system in our Union. I am looking forward to hearing the fresh ideas of the young people gathered in Namur, their views on Europe and what it should be.” It will be particularly interesting to talk to these young people who will be voting for the first time in their lives”.

The Citizens’ Dialogue in Namur follows debates in Ghent (12/04), Eupen (23/04), Brussels (04/05), Antwerp (08/05) and Genk (28/06). Together, Vice-President Viviane Reding and Minister-President Demotte will talk about the future of Europe with citizens and local high school students soon to be of voting age. There will be a focus on issues of particular interest to today’s young generation.

“This is a very positive initiative, since young people will have the opportunity to ask their questions, set out their vision for Europe’s future and communicate what they expect in the short and medium term. It will help citizens understand their rights and show the important role Europe plays in their daily lives. During this exchange of views, it will be particularly interesting to compare different visions of society across cultures and generations,” noted Rudy Demotte, Minister-President of Walloon region.

The debate will take place in the context of the “Fêtes de Wallonie /Colloque Jeunes” on Friday 13September between 14:30 and 15:45 at the cinema-complex Acinapolis de Namur (Jambes).

The event can be followed live via webstream. European citizens who are not able to attend the event in person can ask their questions via Twitter by using the hash tag #EUDeb8. In the days leading up to the Dialogue, questions can also be asked via Facebook and via the site of the youth conference.

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