The European Union will today launch a new digital platform inviting citizens from across Europe to register their views on reforming the bloc.

The project is designed to gather a broad cross-section of grassroots opinion that will feed into the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe, a two-year reappraisal of Europe's direction following a decade of crises and upheaval.

The project will be able to record thousands of submissions, in writing or by video.

Individuals, groups, civil society, as well as local and national parliaments, will all be invited to register their views on subjects on which they believe Europe should do more, or less or better.

The opinions will be categorised into topics and fed into citizens panels, which will form part of the conference plenary sessions.

Member states and EU institutions have been preparing the rethink of the EU's future.

Despite criticism of the complex structure of the conference, the European Commission hopes to convince citizens, for whom the EU can often appear remote, that they can make their views heard.

The conference will start in Strasbourg on 9 May and given the pandemic, it is likely to be part virtual and part in person.

It is expected to conclude in 2022, and it could result in treaty change.

Even with enhanced grassroots involvement, in the past, such big strides forward have often been derailed, or hampered, by referendum defeats in one country or another.