More than 100 people who had taken part in Pulse of Europe HomeParliaments in recent months met at the European Parliament Liaison Office in Berlin yesterday. In over 200 households Germany-wide, people had discussed whether the EU should revise its foreign policy in response to “America first”. They presented their findings to Michael Roth, Minister of State for Europe, who called for greater European unity:
It is vital that Europe does not allow itself to be divided. Otherwise, we will not be taken seriously and our efforts on behalf of human rights, democracy, the rule of law, and free and fair trade will be undermined.
The discussions revealed a wide range of opinions. A large majority of the HomeParliaments were in favour of having an EU foreign minister with greater power to make decisions and implement policy. Opinion was very divided on whether a European army should replace national armies. Roth said that a great deal depended on the forthcoming European elections. Pressure on the EU to speak with one voice and Europe’s ability to learn would be decisive as regards how united European foreign policy would be in the future, he added.
New way to get involved
In Pulse of Europe’s HomeParliament initiative, everyone is welcome to invite friends to their home to talk about Europe. The organisation has become known for its pro-Europe demonstrations, which thousands of people in Germany have also attended. Daniel Röder, co-founder of Pulse of Europe, said: “We need to explore new avenues. Demonstrating on Sundays is no longer enough.” The aim was to have serious discussions and to move away from black-and-white thinking. A further aim was to bring people from different filter bubbles together. Pulse of Europe has systematically noted and evaluated the findings of the HomeParliaments. This new way to get involved directly brought 1174 people together all over Germany .