There is great pressure to act. Faced with global challenges, the European Union is trying to define shared values and common interests. Considering the top political issues these days – migration, trade, climate protection and social cohesion – the only way that Europe can make a difference is through concerted action. It is true that the EU as an open Union based on solidarity is facing political and ideological attacks on many fronts. At the same time, pro-European civil society actors are truly coming to the fore in many member states. Thousands of citizens are taking to the streets to demonstrate for Europe. In the run-up to the European elections in May 2019, a Europe-wide citizens forum is currently under way, the results of which will be collected and then presented to the European Council. This is proof that citizens’ contributions matter.
An open platform for dialogue
The Federal Foreign Office supports these discussions on Europe and is pleased to provide a platform for networking and exchange. European Movement Germany is the largest European policy network in Germany and acts as an umbrella association for 244 member organisations. The movement’s network covers all of Europe. It promotes European integration and is committed to more education and exchange on European issues. Together with the Federal Foreign Office and the movement’s highly diverse membership – which includes representatives from science, business and grassroots movements – it wants to enhance public messaging with regard to, as well as strengthen Germany’s position in, Europe. At the last meeting of the European Movement in the Federal Foreign Office, Minister of State Michael Roth said: “The aim is to reach people who long ago turned their back on Europe.” On the most important issues, such as containing populism, tackling climate change and promoting peace and social cohesion, this cannot be done without engaging in controversy. The Federal Foreign Office supports and provides funding to the European Movement.
Pulse of Europe takes to the streets across Europe
The Federal Foreign Office is also cooperating with the founders of the successful pro-European demonstrations. The first Sunday of every month, people in many European cities take part in demonstrations to call for and promote a common European consciousness. Since last year, thousands of citizens in more than 21 European countries have joined in these events. Members of the Pulse of Europe movement have also acted as hosts at Foreign Minister Heiko Maas’ keynote speech on Europe, and at the citizens forum with Minister Maas. We want to bring on board Germany’s European policy efforts partners that are both credible and critical-minded. This is because Europe, after all, depends on the support of its citizens, and because it can only survive as a community if many people become involved in the European project and consider it their responsibility to shape Europe according to their needs. By partnering with civil society, the Federal Foreign Office wants to better reach and interconnect these people.