The conflicts occurring throughout the world last year – from Syria, Egypt, and Afghanistan to Hungary, Turkey, and most recently Ukraine – have also had a major influence on the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s work. We are doing our utmost to support many initiatives and political actors who are taking action locally to promote democratic structures, human rights, and peaceful solutions to conflicts. One of the primary tasks of Germany’s political foundations is to foster the development of a transnational public sphere. Together with our partners, we work to incorporate analyses and perspectives from around the globe into the public discourse in Germany and Europe. This includes issues that many people are reluctant to address, such as sexual violence in conflict situations. Our highly skilled staff performs outstanding work – often under very difficult conditions – to achieve our objectives. They deserve our respect and gratitude.
In 2013, the future of the European Union was again one of the top priorities of our work. The global financial crisis has exacerbated economic inequality and social tensions within the Eurozone. This has provided a fertile breeding ground for the return of nationalist resentments that pose a threat to the project of European integration. To oppose this trend, our current work is placing an added emphasis on the benefits of cooperation and solidarity in all policy areas, both domestic and international. The foundational values of the European Community – democracy, equal opportunity, the rule of law, and security through cooperation – are as urgent today as they ever were.
Germany’s efforts to transform its energy system, too, will only succeed if they are embedded in a common European energy and climate policy. In this context, the green energy revolution remains a key priority of our work, both in Germany and abroad. We disseminate Germany’s path-breaking experiences to audiences around the world and promote dialogues on energy policy with our European neighbors.
Another central focus of the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s work is to contribute to social and environmental transformations worldwide. Just one example here is our 2013 Meat Atlas, which investigates the social and environmental impacts that European meat consumption has on developing and emerging countries. The public response was so resounding that we published a Meat Atlas again in 2014. The study sheds light on little-known aspects of the large-scale international trade in meat products spanning vast distances encompassing Europe and the United States and even China and India.
Our success is the result of teamwork. We would like to express our thanks to our partners in Germany and abroad, to the members of our volunteer boards and commissions, and to all of our dedicated staff. They form the backbone of the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s successful work.
Berlin, April 2014
Ralf Fücks and Barbara Unmüßig
Presidents, Heinrich Böll Foundation