Project for Democratic Union
Young Europeans have never been more disengaged with mainstream politics. We want to take democracy on tour to build connections between young people and elites, holding café and town-hall meetings in locations across Europe. We will be asking one main question: what would a European political union look like? The centre of each event will be a community-designed presentation to provide a starting-point for the discussion, continually updated with new input using an open-source online platform.
We do not believe that political union can solve all of Europe’s problems. However, without it, we fear that many of them cannot be addressed at all. Social media is doing great things to engage young Europeans in politics, but it is often used at the expense of the face-to-face interactions that build real democratic engagement. We want to break through the shallowness of signing e-petitions and get young people discussing political questions—and learn from each other and those with experience.
We want to create a ripple effect of debate that will inspire young people to think about the problems that Europe faces, and the potential for solutions based on common interests. We see this as the starting point for building a lasting network of pro-European activists. The results of these exchanges will not remain at the local level, however, as every discussion will contribute to an ever-growing online open-source web tool on the future shape of a European political union.
We plan to resurrect the great democratic tradition of café and town-hall meetings and run a series of these events in ten cities across Europe. We would create a presentation that we can take on tour with us, providing a basis for the discussions. We would also leverage our extensive network of contacts within the intellectual and political elite to have a major public figure appear at each event. Once a debate is launched, the participants will become ambassadors for further debates themselves, having access to the knowledge from the ever-growing open-source web tool, as well as being able to tap into our network of contacts to attract ‘anchor’ speakers. The potential number of settings for such projects is immense: universities, trade unions, community centres, even peoples’ homes.
Are primary target group is young Europeans, especially the majority disconnected with the political status quo.
We already have a clear vision of where the future of Europe lies: a single European state. We want to get out into the field and test our ideas, engaging young people in a concrete debate about the possibilities of a political union. We believe in a European civil society, but we also know that trying to build it artificially is never going to work. Instead, we focus on common interests shared by all Europeans and plan to construct a system capable of realizing and defending these interests.
Funding requested from Advocate Europe
€14,000 to research and create initial slideshow presentation; €23,000 costs of 2.5 staff travel and accommodation at each location (to be shared out between part-time staff as appropriate); €9,500 to build ‘starter pack’ on website; no costs for venues, speakers or social media publicity.
In the spirit of our project, we would be very keen to hear feedback from the wider Advocate Europe community.