The Joint Declaration on the Conference on the Future of Europe: Process, Promises, Pitfalls

Working Paper
Federico Fabbrini


This article provides the first scholarly analysis of the Joint Declaration on the Conference on the Future of Europe, adopted by the Presidents of the European Parliament, European Commission and Council of the European Union (EU) on 10 March 2021. The article sheds light on the process that is opened by the Joint Declaration and discusses the potential of this initiative, including to address the shortcomings of the current EU constitutional structure, vividly exposed in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. Moreover, the article compares the Conferenceā€™s plan with two illustrious precedents, namely the Conference of Messina and the Convention on the Future of Europe, highlighting how these prior out-of-the-box initiatives proved valuable to relaunch the project of European integration at difficult times. Nevertheless, the article also draws attentions on the perils that the Conference faces, arguing that in particular political leadership and legal inventiveness will be essential to secure the success of this initiative. As such, by reflecting on the ambiguities and the open-textured nature of the Joint Declaration, the article suggests that the document launching the Conference is the premise of an uncertain future, where promises and pitfalls persist.