Berlin’s contribution to Europe – ideas for bottom-up approaches

Europe Bottom-Up
24.06.2022

 

In order to facilitate exchange between committed European organisations and municipalities, Stiftung Zukunft Berlin has now launched the digital cooperation platform Europe Bottom-Up together with its partners and the support of the Federal Foreign Office.

At the local launch event in Berlin a discussion took place with three members of the Berlin state parliament, Susanna Kahlefeld, Sven Meyer, and Björn Wohlert, and Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, former president of Goethe-Institut and member of the Europe Bottom-Up board, moderated by Stiftung Zukunft Berlin board member Yolanda Rother.

An insightful discussion unfolded around the questions of what role bottom up approaches play in Europe, what Berlin’s contribution to Europe is and what the platform can contribute to Europe. The input started a fruitful debate with large number of questions and contributions from the audience. Everyone agreed that Europe’s citizens, their ideas, initiatives, and projects are fundamental for shaping Europe. Susanna Kahlefeld said that European values are supported more from below than from above. Klaus-Dieter Lehmann identified Berlin’s debate culture as a specific contribution to Europe: many socially relevant debates are held in Berlin, and these examples should be carried further to the European level. One problem recognized was that knowledge about Europe is still not widespread enough among the population. This is less about knowledge about official European institutions than about knowledge about how Europe is visible in everyday life or how the European idea and European values are lived through bottom-up initiatives. In order to be able to shape Europe from below, it is essential to also inspire those who have so far had little to do with Europe. Europe affects us all more than we think, as said by Sven Meyer.

In the discussion it became clear that it is important to anchor the idea of Europe in everyday life. The contribution that the Europe Bottom Up platform can make to this was also discussed, and the importance of the networking function was emphasized: especially in areas where the commitment to Europe is more of an isolated case, committed people can come together via the platform, work together or exchange ideas.

 

europebottomup.eu

is designed to provide cities, regions and various initiatives with a tool for exchange across national borders. It is an instrument that makes it easier to learn from each other and to arrange and carry out joint projects. The explicit goal is to strengthen the European unification and to attract others to it through the joint presence on the platform. Europe Bottom-Up is open to all initiatives, groups and local administrations in the cities and regions of Europe that place Europe at the core of their work. It creates an opportunity to connect, collaborate and work online.

The development of the platform was funded by the Federal Foreign Office and implemented by Stiftung Zukunft Berlin. The platform builds on the networks of Stiftung Zukunft Berlin’s initiatives “A Soul for Europe”, “Cities for Europe” and “Wir sind Europa”.

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