About the project

A new narrative for Europe: Bringing more union into the European Union

Period of implementation: 01/09/2018 – 01/11/2019.

Euroscepticism, democratic deficit and low electoral turnout are affecting all EU countries. The gap among the democratic institutions in Europe, their representatives and Europe’s young generation is growing. Young people are more likely to be present in other forms of civic participation (protests, strikes, boycotts), while voter turnout dramatically decreases. In 2014, only 28% of youth under 25 years old voted – a big gap compared to the overall turnout rate of 42.6 %. Ahead of the EU elections of 2019, the situation seems critical.

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.

The project aims to translate the messages from the grass root level and connect them to the EU public policies, favouring a more bottom-up approach, closer to the EU citizens, in order to ensure that the European project can move forward and respond to Euroscepticism and other EU challenges in a democratic and effective manner.

The project builds upon the messages from these civic movements and proposes new forms of youth interaction: i) online debate competition (32 participants) and storytelling – ”My EU future” (minimum 16 stories), ii) 4 ”town hall meetings” (100-125 participants), complemented by 1 transnational event (200-250 participants) and iii) 5 policy position papers and key recommendations.

Lessons’ learnt from the last years’ movements on how to reshape the future of the EU are at the core of the project, which aims at capitalizing the recent civic “sparks”, understand their roots and driving forces and find new ways of combating Euroscepticism and increase democratic engagement.

A new narrative for Europe – a more engaging one – is strongly and urgently needed. The purpose of our project is 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. We will gather the experiences and views about the future of Europe as developed in recent protests and creative movements in Greece, Romania, Bulgaria and Germany and empower youths in translating their messages at the level of EU decision makers.

Subsequently, the project will target not only policy experts or local authorities, but mostly young activists and students in the recent street protests and demonstrations, social media networks and civic groups, citizens engaged in the public debate or new public vectors.

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 Sofia (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 or 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 in the following Project Information Template: 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.