Future of Europe: Bringing more union into the European Union




Period of implementation: September 2018 – October 2019

Euroscepticism, democratic deficit and low electoral turnout are affecting all EU countries. Across the EU, we are witnessing extensive protests or forms of active citizenship, ranging from pro rule of law protests in Romania and Bulgaria, recent anti-populism and pro-EU in Germany or anti-austerity movements in Greece.  In this context, how can we use most of these civic manifestations to debate the future of the EU? These movements require special attention for a proper understanding of the values their supporters stand for.

This overall trend is doubled also by another worrying phenomenon: disinformation, fake news and trolling are most visible during the electoral campaigns, in an attempt to hamper with EU elections, undermine pro-European values, and promote nationalistic and xenophobic messages.  This scenario is damaging for the EU 2019 elections that may record another all-time low voter turnout.

The project ”A new narrative for Europe: Bringing more union into the European Union ” aims to translate the messages from the grass-root level and connect them to the EU public policies, favoring a more bottom-up approach, closer to EU citizens.  There is an urgent need to raise awareness and know-how among youth on the importance of EU 2019 elections and empowering them with the needed tools to gain momentum and influence over the EU’s direction through interactive and user-friendly methods.

Furthermore, we intend to document and address the protests as a new form of democratic participation that could be further used as an opportunity to re-shape European identity across borders, combat new populist trends and increase voter turnout.

The main outcomes of the project are:

  1. Organizing interactive online debate competitions on EU elections and Video Storytelling with youths and activists focusing on EU challenges (Euroscepticism, democratic deficit, EU elections).
  2. Organizing 4 ”town hall meetings” complemented by 1 transnational event on the future of Europe and the new forms of active citizenship;
  3. Elaborating position papers and key recommendations based on the findings during the project that will be disseminated at the EU level.

The project targets youths, students, activists from Romania, Bulgaria, Germany, and Greece, with an interest in the recent street protests and demonstrations and engaged in the public debate that can further create appropriate mechanisms to combat the lack of trust in the EU and Euroscepticism.

Project results:

  • Engaging 32 participants from 4 countries in an E-debate competition concerning most important debates at EU level in the framework of the EU elections, street protests and movements among EU;
  • Designing 16 video stories concerning the future of the EU with young people active in the street protests from Romania, Greece, Bulgaria and Germany;
  • Organizing one Preparatory Activity in Athens (Greece);
  • Organizing 6 town-hall meetings in Bucharest (Romania), Athens (Greece), Berlin (Germany) and Sophia (Bulgaria) that brought together more than 500 participants (of whom more than 80 foreigners from EU and non-EU countries) including national and foreign experts, young people, students, representatives of the NGOs, representatives of the civic groups, young activists, diplomats, members of the political parties, journalists, academia and researchers. They had the opportunity to debate the most recent trends and various forms of civic mobilization and their impact on the future of Europe;
  • Designing 4 position papers on the specific framework and evolution of civic mobilization in Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Germany; in addition to 1 comparative report which provides recommendations for improving citizens’ engagement and role in the future of the EU.

More information about all the events carried out within the project are available at http://futureofeurope.europeanheroes.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Information-Template_Project-A-New-Narrative-for-Europe-Bringing-more-Union-into-the-EU.pdf

The project is financed by the European Commission, EUROPE FOR CITIZENS Programme, Strand2: Democratic engagement and civic participation.