The project conceptualizes, organizes and facilitates open public discussion and access to information, and it works to counter the increased public opinion of uncertainty and distrust in the EU. In many EU countries, we have experienced a change of discourse throughout the past years with far right movements, increasing populism, EU skepticism and mistrust in the so-called “elitist” institutions and politicians being a returning topic of discussion, especially in the media. This is connected with a lack of information about the EU and the role and results of the EU institutions. Therefore, this project emphasises on the importance of understanding the union, its values, results and its work.
It is essential for all the partners in this project to counter these right wing movements and instead promote a visionary and factual based discussion, which is even more essential now that we move towards the EP election 2019.
In this project, we aim to take a different approach when it comes to communicating EU issues. Our strategic point of departure is starting a conversation about the common, cross-border challenges that will create a fora where common solutions can be discussed in a constructive manner. The topic of a common future is the starting point for citizens-to-citizens dialogue. This will move the discussion from a pro- or against the EU towards a more visionary, value- and fact-based discussion.
The project is designed to foster European civic participation on a transnational democratic level while increasing public awareness about the values of the Union, discussing the future of Europe and preparing the European citizens for the upcoming EP election. It is essential to reach a broad spectrum of European citizens through our campaigns, citizens-to-citizens meetings and conferences with different backgrounds, whether it is cultural or social, young or old. The meetings, the conferences and the campaigns will be citizens-oriented, forward-looking and constructive with the aim of encouraging active, democratic citizens participation in the EU and foster a feeling of belonging to the EU.
We aim to nuance the EU debate and make it more visible and relevant to the European citizens and we are confident that this project entails the necessary platforms to be successful in reaching a broad spectra of the European population in order to foster a stronger European solidarity with the understanding of shared common values.
We are aware of the existing structural differences between the EU countries and that this impedes the application of a one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to communicating the EU. That’s why we take the differences into consideration in our outreach activities and strategy when working together with our partners. Our thoroughly prepared and tested concepts and activities will be differentiated according to the specific region and country, while at the same time emphasizing opportunities for societal and intercultural engagement at a Union level. We wish to promote the issues as well as possibilities created by the social and cultural differences and diversity and not a one-sided populistic voice.
We see this approach as a new and powerful way of interlinking the local intimate citizens-to-citizens discussions to transnational decision-making processes at a EU level that fosters a shared sense of belonging and civic participation, which we consider to be the pertinent with the annual priority of the programme.
EVENTS IN EUROPEAN CITIES
In 2020 the EU charter of Fundamental Rights are turning 20 years. We, seven different civil society organisations, based in eight different European countries, are celebrating and discussing our fundamental rights. We are looking at the charter from different perspective and discussing its relevance today.
In six different European Cities we are discussing the six different chapters in the EU charter; Dignity, Freedoms, Equality, Solidarity, Citizens Rights and Justice, and having a final event in Brussels, a year after the European Parliament Election.