Cultural Coalition for
a Citizen's Europe
on 10 November 2012
at the Deutsche Telekom,
Berlin Representative Office,
Berlin Representative Office,
Französische Strasse 33, 10117
from 9:30 a.m. till 6:30 p.m.
Cultural Coalition for a Citizens’ Europe
Initiated by “A Soul for Europe” and its partners
Europe cannot be a mere political framework for the convenience of governments. It must be made clear that the purpose of European integration is primarily to enhance the quality of life for its citizens. The active involvement of citizens is unthinkable without participation that is taken seriously.
A Citizens’ Europe implies participation beyond the dry confines of bureaucratic regulation and job creation programmes. It involves all the activities necessary for real social justice and dialogue. It requires the political structures to provide citizens with the mobility, freedom and resources to make the most of the opportunities of our time.
At its very core, a Citizens’ Europe is a cultural concept. It has to encompass the wealth of languages, traditions, cultural knowledge and experiences of people in Europe, regardless of where they are originally from. The Coalition believes in the catalyst role that culture – in all its diverse forms – can play in the development of society. Culture and the arts are a vital element of Europe’s social and democratic fabric. Culture shapes our common value system and at the same time helps to establish a sense of self in an increasingly fast-paced and fragmented world. Culture and the arts can simultaneously strengthen social bonds, enable communication and stimulate out-of-the-box thinking across European borders in a unique and “avant-garde” way.
A Cultural Coalition for a Citizens’ Europe proposes this basic and activating role of culture to politics and business. It expresses a demand for supporting the development of Europe from the bottom up: as a coalition based on the creative force of culture and in continuous dialogue with all strands of society. The Cultural Coalition thus brings together those whom political institutions will need in order to deliver European integration that has real meaning for citizens. Without such a coalition the current level of indifference, hostility to and alienation from the European project will continue to undermine it, strengthening the hand of those who wish to revert to narrow nationalism.
Developing and implementing a new understanding of the cultural component of citizenship will give the Coalition its guiding line. Building Europe means integrating national histories, value systems and world views, and fostering intercultural dialogue. Citizenship includes the right to participate in diverse cultural life, not limited to the majority culture of any nation state or linguistic group. It also includes the willingness to learn about and be aware of the cultural traditions of the community within which citizens reside and draw conclusions for their own active responsibility for the development of society (the community). This should not just be a nation state, but also a region, city or community – and it should include all residents living in that common “Union” space.
European Year of Citizens 2013
The European Year of Citizens 2013 will give the “Cultural Coalition for a Citizen’s Europe” its time frame. The Year is an opportunity to make European policy and European citizens aware of their rights and responsibilities as Europeans: we want to give the European Year of Citizens its urgency.
A Cultural Coalition is the expression of the hearts and minds of Europe’s citizens: active in debate, innovative in thinking and creative in their activities. This Coalition provides the political and official institutions (whether local, regional, national, European or global) with the interlocutors they need to help them develop. That is what drives the Coalition’s work: to develop a new understanding of cultural citizenship and cultural rights in order to create a democratic Europe from the bottom up.
Join, follow and contribute to the Cultural Coalition for a Citizens’ Europe!