Following the horrific wars of the last century, the countries of the European Union drew the right conclusions and founded a common project based on democratic values. We Europeans and our cities and towns are the beneficiaries of this project. It is time for us to think more about our own responsibility for its success. Europe needs us actively to assume shared responsibility.
The “Europe Bottom-Up” Platform helps us to do this. It is a digital platform for action and cooperation, which is meant to encourage awareness of our responsibility for Europe and to support it. It is open to organisations, groups and initiatives that want to contribute to Europe’s success in a wide variety of fields. All of us, including our towns and regions, have the potential for making such contributions. And Europe needs them. For, in the final analysis, it is the lives and actions of many people on the grassroots level that is decisive for the success or lack of success of Europe in social and economic and also cultural terms.
Participation in the “Europe Bottom-Up” platform stands for
1. understanding Europe also as a union of its citizens, with their cities and regions representing the grassroots level and the potential of Europe and the European community. They, above all, embody the cultural energy that gives Europe life: their stories, their democratic values, their convictions, their diversity.
2.strengthening the involvement and lived responsibility of European citizens, of their cities and their regions. The future of Europe cannot be successfully shaped without the participation of the European grassroots. The platform aims to offer a digital infrastructure for cooperation to those who are interested in the success of the European project and who are prepared to make their own contributions to it.
3.viewing Europe’s grassroots as a cornerstone for the success of the European project. Hence, insisting also on the responsibility of the grassroots level and, at the same time, supporting its development: promoting the work of grassroots organisations, making it possible for them to connect up with other initiatives, to learn from each other, to create alliances – also so that together they can more effectively convey the importance of bottom-up responsibility for Europe to the public.
4.also publicising “best-practice” examples of European work and cooperation, as well as presenting contrary, unsuccessful examples. For the bottom-up idea does not promise a simple path forward, but rather involves commitment to a complicated path, which it is, however, in Europe’s interest for us to take.
Who we are
Europe is shaped by its citizens, its initiatives and organizations. European cities and regions form the basis and are the potential of the European Union. They embody its cultural energy: its history, its values, its beliefs, its diversity. The unity of the Union is based on the cultural diversity of Europe and benefits from its people and regions.
In November 2020, different actors from civil society, the arts and culture and from cities all over Europe as well as former and current members of the European Parliament and the responsible Commissioner for Culture, Mariya Gabriel came together at the A Soul for Europe conference in Berlin to discuss how to enable and empower European initiatives to co-create Europe from the bottom-up. Two underlying needs especially were identified: how to render citizen participation more concrete and how to link those initiatives who see their work as a contribution to Europe in order for them to join forces.
The most important outcome was that these different stakeholders felt called upon to contribute to the development of a platform to live the concept of a “bottom-up” Europe.
Europe Bottom-Up is funded by the Federal Foreign Office and implemented by the „Stiftung Zukunft Berlin“. The platform builds on the network of the strategy group “A Soul for Europe” and the initiatives “Cities for Europe” and “We are Europe” and is open to all initiatives, groups and local administrations that see their work as European in the wider sense.
The platform is strategically guided by a board consisting of members of the European Parliament and stakeholders from culture and civil society.
The board provides strategic support for the platform. Its members function as disseminators.
They promote the platform at events and initiate strategic partnerships.
Members of the board are:
Gabriele Bischoff (MEP), Emil Boc (Mayor of Cluj-Napoca), Kathrin Deventer (Secretary General of the European Festivals Association (EFA), Hella Dunger-Löper (President of the Landesmusikrat Berlin), Lena Düpont (MEP), Rafał Dutkiewicz (Former Mayor of Wrocław), Tomasz Frankowski (MEP), Ulrich Fuchs (Programme Director of the European Capital of Culture Marseille-Provence 2013), Hannes Heide (MEP), Hannah Neumann (MEP), Niklas Nienaß (MEP), Doris Pack (Former MEP), Hannes Swoboda (Former MEP), István Szabó (Film director)
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