In permeable societies arrival cities are the birth place of a new, creative middle class.
8 - 9 November 2016: „A Soul for Europe“ Conference 2016
The initiative “Cities for Europe” chaired the conference “New Responsibilities for the Cities”
How can cities contribute to the strengthening of Europe? How can cities fight borders and prejudice? And how can citizens be filled with enthusiasm for the European Union and go into action against right-wing populist and anti-European movements? These were the central questions of the keynotes, workshops and discussions.
Mrs. Hella Dunger-Löper, Former State Secretary for European Affairs of Berlin, welcomed the participants of the conference and pointed out the importance of the cities in the heart of Europe. Richard Kühnel held the engagement of the European Civil society presented by the projects in high regard and referred to the not negligible conflicts in the neighboring European countries. Introduced was the conference by the inauguration speech by Prof. Dr. Oliver Jens Schmitt of the University of Vienna about the “Cultural division of Europe”. He referred to the division of the western and eastern countries of Europe as well as the differences between an “inner” (the member states of the European Union) and an “outer” Europe (Turkey, Russia).
The main focus of the conference was placed on the exchange between politics, culture and civil society on a local and an European level. Furthermore the presentation and the exchange of project examples and strategies in the European practice should be emphasized. The “Marketplace Europe” presented 21 successful projects and promising approaches out of the most different municipalities of Europe in an exhibition in the rotunda of the Allianz Forum. The projects were given the possibility to outline their approaches, aims und successes with posters and videos. During the three workshops all the participants were encouraged to come together in conversation in small groups. The diverse conference formats providing many opportunities for interaction were very positively received by the conference participants. Most initiatives and active citizens especially used the opportunity to network.
European Cultural Capitals 2016
Wroclaw/Poland and San Sebastian/Spain offer interesting cultural programmes
Both cultural capitals were called two unequal sisters several times: the Polish city Wroclaw (over 600 000 inhabitants), ingrained and grounded in the middle of Europe, as well as the Basque city San Sebastian (nearly 200 000 inhabitants) scenically situated by the sea. They both have in common that they look back on a very difficult and painful history. San Sebastian has been kept in suspense many years through the ETA terrorism, Wroclaw’s population had to struggle longtime with the very radical population exchange after the Second World War. Today both cities use culture as an instrument that creates identity and encourages the peaceful living together in Europe.
For more information click here.
EUROPE BY PEOPLE
An interessting cultural programme accompanies the Dutch EU Council presidency
The Netherlands took over the EU Council presidency in January 2016. Under the Motto “EUROPE BY PEOPLE”, the country offers, in parallel with the EU Council Presidency, an extensive cultural programme, inviting citizens to participate. You – and all Europeans – are asked to participate and shape the dynamic process which is not only charaterising the cultural programmme, but the entire European project.
For more information click here.
The annual „Cities for Europe“ network meeting – as part of the Berlin Conference – took place on 8 November 2015 at Allianz Forum (Pariser Platz 6, 10117 Berlin).
Under the heading “EUROPE. ITS VALUES. ITS CITIZENS – Cities for Europe. Cities take a stand.” the cities conference invited representatives of European cities, mayors, artists, cultural players and committed citizens to discuss the current challenges that Europe faces in view of the enormous growth in the number of refugees and the also growing right-wing extremism in Europe.
The presentations of various projects and initiatives from cities at the "Marketplace Europe" gave an impression of the many encouraging examples that strengthen Europe from the bottom-up and contribute to the European integration process.
"Europe Is Here - United in Diversity"...
... is the motto of this year’s Europe week from 2 to 10 May. It is also the motto of the Europafest hosted by the Berlin Senate Chancellery. The event will take place on Saturday, 9 May, on Alice-Salomon-Platz in Marzahn-Hellersdorf. Just like last year, "Cities for Europe" will contribute to the event’s colourful programme from 2 to 7pm.
We warmly invite you to experience Europe, to get to know interesting initiatives, to discuss, exchange ideas and meet people. We are looking forward to welcoming you on 9 May at the Europafest!
Additional information can be found here.
25th anniversary of the Pan-European Picnic – a milestone for the growing together of Europe
On the 19th of August 1989 Hungary opened its border gate towards Austria, so that their neighbours could take part in the Pan-European Picnic in Sopron (HU). This encounter between Austrian and Hungarian citizens has become a historical event. After great publicity for the Picnic in the whole of Hungary, thousands of people from the former GDR took their chance to flock to the West through the opened border gate.
Every year, dedicated citizens of Sopron call to our minds this memorable date. It has become a milestone for the growing together of European people and impressively shows how committed citizens can change our world. The Pan-European Picnic has made an important contribution for turning the formerly separated border region between Sopron (HU) and St. Margarethen (AUT) into a vivid European place. Living peacefully with one another and cooperating closely has become a matter of course.
For more information, see here
"Thinking of Europe, I..."
With the European Elections coming up, everybody seems to be talking about Europe. But what does the concept of Europe mean to us personally? We asked the visitors of the Europe Day Celebration on the 9 May at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to give us their opinions on the matter. We got many different answers: some were critical, some were euphoric - in any case they were as diverse as the continent of Europe. Here you can see some of the statements of our international guests. Visit our Facebook page to see some more impressions of the event!
Project of the month: Transeuropa Caravans
From 25th of April to May 4th - with the exception of the Southern Caravan which left from May 2nd to May 10th - Transeuropa Caravans left six cities and travelled towards another city, passing through more than 30 spots identified in the previous research and mapping phase. The transnational caravans’ teams made up of a coordinator, a communication and a logistics officers, a video-maker and a cartoonist engaged with people involved on the ground in political struggles or initiatives for democracy, solidarity and equality, on topics ranging from the defence of minorities’ rights to the environment, the fight for common goods or the resistance to the power of financial markets. > Read more
The Berlin Declaration
The BERLIN DECLARATION was presented at the conclusion of the "Cities for Europe" Conference on 9 November 2012 in Berlin's City Hall. It is both a commitment to strengthen Europe as well as a personal obligation to take action. > Join the Berlin Declaration
"Cities for Europe" in Berlin's City Hall
On 9 November 2012, over 100 mayors, artists, players from the cultural sector and committed citizens from European cities convened in Berlin's City Hall to discuss the role that cities play in building a "Citizens' Europe". The invitation was extended by the "A Soul for Europe" initiative in cooperation with the cities of Berlin and Guimarães, one of the two European Capitals of Culture 2012, as well as the German Federal Agency for Civil Education (Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung). Interesting projects and initiatives from European cities were presented under the heading of "European Marketplace" and showed how impressive, diverse, lively and colourful Europe can be in practice. > read more