Dialogue on Europe – Rebuilding trust and redefining Europe in tough times

When we started the #DialogueOnEurope
back in 2015, we did this in order to give the European civil society a
stronger voice in the debate. We have established a great network of civil society actors. We asked them to work with us in so-called
“Thinking Labs”. focusing on the topics of Migration, Populism, Sustainable Growth and Social
Cohesion. In 2015, the European project was on a different stage. Think an Brexit and the increasing rise of the right and populists,
the impact of the financial and social crisis. I would like to encourage civil
society to express strong pro-European commitment. We wanted to shift away the debate about
the future of Europe from the summit-policy-politics more to
the civil society actors. We started the journey through Europe in Athens and
further to Lisbon, Rome, Marseilles, Madrid, Berlin, London, Warsaw, Paris, and finally Brussels. What we found is a strong consensus about the importance of the European integration in general. Even though there are a lot of different
opinions on how we should get there, and how this idea, this construction of European
integration should look like in the end. Social Cohesion is one of the core
European principles. We focused on youth unemployment as one of the main
indicators of social exclusion. The workshops were fascinating because I think the threat all over Europe is the same, but the countries are dealing with
populism in very different ways. We have to remember that migration is a crucial part of our European heritage in history. Without migration, without people moving
around, meeting each other, exchanging ideas, there would be no science, no good
food, no great architecture. So, we have to cherish this diversity Europe is founded
on, and we have to protect it, especially now, where nationalistic agendas are
always so popular. The entire world is embarking on the
transition to a low-carbon economy and Europe needs to be part of that.
We want Sustainable Growth, we want a low-carbon economy, and we want jobs for young people who can work in this low-carbon economy. I’m glad that so many projects
of common interest could be raised: climate protection, migration, refugees,
strengthening Social Cohesion and the European Union. We’ve learned from our bitter history and I think we should help people who need help. That’s an “exam” in humanity for Europe. We can make our world better. Over the last one and a half years, the Thinking Labs created and came up with policy recommendations in those
respective fields. From now on, we would like to share those ideas, we would like to have those ideas be part of the public, political debate and hope that
they can make a difference and bring new perspectives into a legislative process
on a national and European level.

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