HC Deb 17 April 2002 vol 383 c944W
Mr. Challen

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans are in place to ensure that a public discussion takes place on the Convention on the Future of Europe. [50032]

Peter Hain

Since the Nice Declaration, the Government have been seeking a wide range of views on the future of Europe through regional visits, seminars, radio phone-ins and interviews. I have personally spoken to trade unions, businessmen, academics, students and other members of the public about the future of Europe. I have also undertaken a number of regional visits, including Cardiff last October, Edinburgh last November, Northern Ireland in February and South Yorkshire in March. That listening process is continuing, in parallel with the "listening phase" in the Future of Europe Convention. The coming months will see me making further regional visits, including to Birmingham in May and Liverpool in July. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs plans to visit the Devolved Administrations. There will be other activities focusing on the future of Europe, including a Youth Convention and Europe Day. In addition, a dedicated website providing for open and public discussion on the future of Europe will be established and open for contributions by the summer.

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