Members of the European Committee of the Regions debated with Ms Gabriele Bischoff, Member of the European Parliament and Vice-President of the European Parliament's Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) in the CoR commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs – CIVEX on the way ahead for the Conference on the Future of Europe. For local and regional leaders, the ongoing crisis makes it even more urgent for the European Union to work to become more effective, democratic and closer to citizens. The CoR welcomes the position of the Council issued on 24 June as an important step in moving forward, since it opens the way for negotiations on the governance, the content and the structure of the Conference. But the committee also urges to start the works as soon as the pandemic situation allows. Ms Bischoff reiterated that local and regional leaders should play an important role in this process.