Europe's Future – Rethinking Europe
All across Europe citizens are debating their living and working conditions against the background of local politics but also EU policy. At first glance, many are not able to discern the advantages a deepening of the EU may entail, a situation exacerbated by the financial and economic crises, youth unemployment, a loss of trust in EU policy, increasing scepticism regarding Europe, and numerous unanswered questions about the integration of new member countries.
How do policies that are made in Brussels affect us as individuals? How can we influence the design of EU policies? How can we make Europe a tangible experience for all its citizens? These and many more questions will be addressed at conferences, panel discussions, in publications and workshops in order to reveal Europe’s diversity, its regions, its issues and problems, and the commitment of the people living here. At the same time, we are aiming to shed light on the EU’s committees and bodies and how they operate. Through their activities, the Heinrich Böll Foundation and its project partners want to promote public discourse in Europe by offering a forum for differing points of view while also identifying what we have in common. The overall goal is to encourage people to get actively involved and to think of themselves as citizens of the European Union.
Workshop ENP: Towards a New European Neighbourhood Policy
May 12, 2015 – Brussels, Belgium
The European Neighbourhood Policy was created as an outcome of the 2004 enlargement of the European Union. Uniting a large part of the continent created the inevitable though largely unintended consequence of differences. Recently, the EU launched a consultation on the future of its relations with neighbouring countries. It is hoped that the current review by the EEAS, undertaken within a completely changed geopolitical context in both the eastern and southern regions, will finally allow the ENP to become a more substantive instrument of assistance and influence in the wider EU neighbourhood – to the benefit of both the union and the neighbouring states. As a political foundation represented in the region, the Heinrich Böll Foundation (hbs) participated at the review process and submitted its evaluation to the European Commission. The foundations partner organisations and independent experts from East and South contributed with their experiences and recommendations, among them: Jacek Kucharczyk (Institute of Public Affairs), Elżbieta Kaca (Polish Institute of International Affairs), Jan Piekło (Polish-Ukrainian Foundation PAUCI) and Adam Balcer, Jan-Nowak-Jeziorański (College of Eastern Europe).
Escaping towards Europe
A debate about sea rescue in the Mediterranean, refugee protection and alternatives for Dublin III
May 7, 2015 – Berlin, Germany
The dramatic fact that thousands of people died when trying to reach Europe finally created enough political pressure on the Council and the Commission to rethink how to cope with the growing influx of migrants using the central Mediterranean passage to reach Europe. Mostly critizised is the ten-point action plan on migration, that is meant to lead to immediate actions to be taken in response to the ongoing crisis. So far Europe has not acted in unity to find a solution for what has to be considered a humanitarian crisis and rather than on the safeguard of the rights of migrants the focus has mainly been on security.
How will Member States now practically commit to the action plan and conclusions? Will the European Agenda on Migration tackle new territory and what else is needed to solve the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean? The debate delivers current information about the situation in the Mediterranean and illuminates opportunities for an efficient and fundable sea rescue as well as alternatives for the Dublin systemen.
Participants are: Ska Keller (Member of the European Parliament, Speaker on Migration Issues for the European Greens), Khalid Chaouki (Member of the Italian Parliament) and Selmin Çalişkan (General Sekretary Amnesty International). The event ist presented by Christian Jakob (Journalist, die tageszeitung).
The Humanitarian Crisis in the Mediterranean: How to Fix the EU’s Failed Approach to Irregular Migration?
May 27, 2015 – Brussels, Belgium
Since the beginning of 2015, more than 1,700 people lost their lives trying to reach the southern shores of Europe. On April 21st Commissioner Avramopoulos presented a ten-point action plan on migration, which, in addition to the Agenda on Migration to be adopted later this month, is meant to lead to immediate actions to be taken in response to the ongoing crisis. Even though this action plan features several good points, it can be doubted that it is an adequate response to the complex challenges. The same can be said about the European Council’s Conclusions. So far Europe has not acted in unity to find a solution for what has to be considered a humanitarian crisis and rather than on the safeguard of the rights of migrants the focus has mainly been on security. Will the European Agenda on Migration tackle new territory and what else is needed to solve the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean?
The participants are invited to search for answers: Maria Ancona (President of Associazione Sud and Member of Rosa Bianca National Committee), Costanza Hermanin (Senior Policy Analyst, Equality and Migration; Advocacy Manager, Italy, Open Society European Policy Institute, Brussels), Stephen Ryan (Head of Unit, Asylum, DG Home Affairs, European Commission). The event is presented by moderiert Klaus Linsenmeier (Director Heinrich Böll Foundation, Brussels).
- Information concerning the video screening of "The Migrant's Rescue – Mare Nostrum Operations", by Associazione Sud, a reportage which was broadcast by Canal Plus France (L'Effet Papillon) on June, 28 2014.
- Event Report
Approaches for a Coherent German and European Refugee Policy
September 23, 2015 – Berlin, Germany
Europe obviously cannot handle the refugee crisis. The humanitarian catastrophe at the outer borders of Europe doesn't seem to end. The political climate in Germany and other countries seems to agravate. Instead of a shortsighted wall-up policy, specific solutions are needed for both a responsible internal and European policy as well as development cooperation. The migration researcher Steffen Angenendt analyses in this e-paper for the Heinrich Boell Foundation various strategies for action and demonstrates longterm perspectives.
Developments in Greece
The Shockwave Effect of the Greek Election: The End of Austerity or the Beginning of the End of the Eurozone as We Know It?
February 25, 2015 – Brussels, Belgium
With one-third of Greeks at risk of poverty or social exclusion and more than a quarter of the population unemployed, the landslide victory of left-wing anti-austerity party SYRIZA in Greece’s recent national election is hardly surprising: What did surprise is SYRIZA’s choice for ANEL, the “Independent Greeks Party”, a small right-wing anti-austerity party with a dubious reputation, as coalition partner. The main election promise of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was to solve Greek’s pressing financial problems. But how does he think to achieve these goals and on how much support can he count from European leaders?
The SYRIZA victory could have wider implications for Europe. With two other southern member states holding elections in 2015, Portugal in October and Spain in December, like-minded anti-austerity parties of the left, such as Podemos in Spain, might get a boost from the result. How will the Greek election result, the policy of the new Greek government and the EU’s way of dealing with it affect the elections in Portugal and Spain, the situation in the eurozone and the European project as a whole?
Speakers are: Viriato Soromenho-Marques (Professor of Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Nature and European ideas in the departments of Philosophy and European Studies of the University of Lisbon, Portugal), Ernest Urtasun (Member of the European Parliament, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance (Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds)), Eleni Varvitsioti (Journalist, EU Correspondent Kathimerini). The event is presented by Klaus Linsenmeier, Director at the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Brussels.
The Greek Surge against Austerity: A Blessing or a Curse for the Eurozone?
March 26, 2015 – Brussels, Belgium
The eurozone has survived another year, modest progress seemed to have been made without fundamental policy or institutional changes and on January 1st, 2015 Lithuania joined the club of now 19 countries. But this general complacency was rudely interrupted by the outcome of the election in Greece and the arrival on the (euro)scene of a new self-confident Greek government which had promised its vexed voters the end of austerity and a cancellation of part of Greece’s unsustainable €315 billion debt burden. Some weeks later a compromise was found. But where do we go from here? In these four months it is not only the Greek government that has to think about its strategy, but also the eurozone leadership.
Speakers are: Dr. Cinzia Alcidi (Head of Economic Policy Unit and LUISS Research Fellow, The Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Sven Giegold (Member of the European Parliament, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA) and economic and financial spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group), Dr. Eleni Panagiotarea (Research Fellow, Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP). The discussion ist presented by Klaus Linsenmeier, Director at the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Brussels.
After the Greek Parliamentary Elections: Is there a Path for a Sustainable Crisis Management in Europe?
September 29, 2015 – Berlin, Germany
With a clear vote from the Greek people Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras from the left-national party Syriza has recieved once again the mandate for his announced reform policy. Still, the future will proove, if he will be supported with his economic and political transformation of Greece against all the resistance of "institutions" like the EU, IWF, EVB.
After the parliamentary elections we will discuss the Greek future and the prospects for the European Monetary Union: What are the reasons for the economic and political crisis in Greece and how can they be overcome? How can Greece and Europe get back on a sustainable track of prosperity? What role can Germany play? The panelists are: Dr. Henning Meyer (Director, New Global Strategy Ltd., London, Great Britain), Prof. George Pagoulatos (Professor for European Politics and Economy, Economic University of Athens, Greece, Dr. Ognian Hishow (Scientist, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Germany), Lisa Paus (MoP, Germany) Presentation: Marlies Uken (Editor Economy, ZEIT ONLINE, Berlin). The event was broadcasted via a livestream.
Politics of protest. Understanding political protest in Central Europe
Political Mobilizations in Hungary 2010-2014
May 28, 2015 – Warsaw, Poland
The post-transition Hungarian protest sector grew to an unseen size during the years of the second Orbán government. Actors from all over the political spectrum became active in a wave of contention partly inspired by the international anti-austerity protest cycle. Still, this national peak of mobilization meant rather contained events attended by the politically most active. The subsequent pro-Orbán marches produced the highest turnout rates, occasionally attracting around a hundred thousand participants.
The subject of the event is to analyze the oppositional and EU critiques of the new system of “illiberal democracy” by advocating a populist conception where the emerging will of the people is in focus instead of institutional settings. Protest event analysis and secondary sources will be used to explain interactions between popular support and dissent.
- More information on the project "Politics of Protest. Understanding Political Protest in Central Europe"
Democracy Disrupted. The Politics of Global Protest. Event with Ivan Krastev
March 19th, 2015 – Warsaw, Poland
In his newest book Ivan Krastev discusses the relationship between protest and democracy. Does the last wave of protests signal a radical change in the way politics will be practiced? Will it be the empowering energy of the protests or the conservative backlash against them that will shape the future of democratic politics? These questiones were adressed during Ivan Krastev's lecture organized by the Heinrich Böll Foundation and Collegium Civitas on 19th March 2015.
- More information on the project "Politics of Protest. Understanding Political Protest in Central Europe"
Grassroots protests and new collective identities in Bosnia-Herzegovina
April 29th, 2015 – Warsaw, Poland
Between 2013 and 2014 Bosnia-Herzegovina witnessed the first mass protests since the end of the 1992-95 war, which will be discussed during the second seminar held as part of the project "Politics of Protest". The talk with Chiara Milan provides an overview of the latest Bosnian unrest, analysing the roots of its emergence, the social composition and forms of organization, as well as the achievements and shortcomings of such a form of civic resistance.
- More information on the project "Politics of Protest. Understanding Political Protest in Central Europe"
PEGIDA in Dresden and elsewhere – more than right-wing populism?
July 7th, 2015 – Warsaw, Poland
With the acronym PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident), a group of men began “walking” every Monday evening through the streets of Dresden, reaching at the top 25.000 participants in January. The organizational form of Monday demonstrations referred to famous political marches “Montagsdemonstrationen” in East Germany in 1989/1990. Xenophobic attitudes were clearly visible from the beginning but that could hardly be sufficient to attract so many people. Most participants declared themselves to be ordinary people from the centre of the political spectrum. But beyond the undeniable anti-immigrant attitudes of many PEGIDA-adherents, there seems to be a general challenge to the concept of representative liberal democracy of the type that has been successful in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Guest: Dr. Dietrich Herrmann (University of Dresden) is historian and political scientist and an expert for the politics of constitutionalism, discourses on immigration, and political culture.
The Rise of the Right in Europe and the Decline and Fall of Practically Everything Else
Böll Lunch Debate
September 23rd, 2015 – Brussels, Belgium
Sixteen months have gone by since the last election to the European Parliament; twelve months since the new European Commission, the new EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security and the new European Council President took up their duties. So far it has been a bumpy ride for the new parliamentarians and leaders of Europe. The eurozone crisis has developed into an ongoing thriller whose likely ending, a Grexit, keeps being postponed by breath-taking and unexpected plot developments; the conflict in Ukraine in the eastern neighbourhood of the European Union keeps deteriorating and the migration and refugee crisis originating in the EU’s southern neighbourhood has reached dramatic proportions. The European Union hasn’t looked very good in its attempts to solve any of these major crises to put it mildly: its actions either came too late or nothing happened at all; they didn’t go far enough or went in the wrong direction. In short, Europe demonstrated a worrying lack of insight, solidarity and leadership. In the meantime Euroscepticism, right-wing populism and extremism have profited from the general inertness and lack of leadership: In the European Parliament where Marine Le Pen managed in adding a second extreme rightwing group to the fragmented political spectrum; in recent national elections and opinion polls where right-wing parties did shockingly well (e.g. in Denmark, Sweden, Italy and France); in the streets where they have mobilised against migrants and Roma (e.g. in Germany and Hungary) and even on government level (e.g. Hungary and Slovakia). Europe is in dire need of leadership, ambition and more cooperation, but instead its leaders seem to turn against each other in a desperate attempt to gain domestic popularity. Is there a chance that EU leaders refocus on the values the Union was built on and take urgent action before the European project disintegrates into complete chaos?
Speakers are: Reinhard Bütikofer (Member of the European Parliament, Greens-EFA; Judy Dempsey (nonresident Senior Associate at Carnegie Europe and editor in chief of the Strategic Europe blog); Janis A. Emmanouilidis (Director of Studies and Head of Programme at the European Policy Centre EPC, Brussels). Moderator: Klaus Linsenmeier, Director Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union.
Don't miss our latest blog posts and web dossier entries related to the topic:
- Jelena von Helldorff – "The EU Migration Dilemma"
- Thomas Renard – "An Eventful Summer: Syria and the Teething of Europe"
- Daniela Kietz – "Refugees from the Western Balkans: Another Example of the EU's Flawed Migration Policy"
- Julian Rappold – "A Timeout Proposal with Consequences"
- Gábor Csomor – The Fidesz Party's Affair with Radical Voters"
- Armanda Cetrulo – What is Happening to the Soul of Europe"
The Polish Parliamentary Election and the Rise of Right-Wing Populism
Consequences for Poland and Europe
October 21, 2105 – Brussels, Belgium
The Polish parliamentary election to be held on 25 October, will take place in the middle of an unprecedented refugee crisis in Europe and in the context of rising support for right-wing populist movements in almost all EU Member States. If and how the migration issue will affect the election remains to be seen, but it is likely that it will boost support for the right-wing opposition, not only the Law and Justice Party, but also more right-wing fringe parties with an anti-immigration and anti-EU stance, such as Janusz Korwin-Mikke’s Coalition for the Renewal of the Republic Freedom and Hope (KORWiN).
As Poland is the biggest of the ‘new Member States’ and a serious player on EU level, the consequences of a return to power of the Right after the elections in combination with growing right-wing sentiments among the population would be disastrous for Europe and Poland alike.
Possible effects will be discussed with the following speakers: Dr. Jacek Kucharczyk (President of the Executive Board, Institute of Public Affairs, Warsaw Aleksandra Niżyńska, Policy Analyst and Programme Manager, Gender Equality Observatory at Institute of Public Affairs, Warsaw); Ulrike Lunacek (Member of the European Parliament Greens-EFA Austria and Vice-President of the EP). Presentation: Klaus Linsenmeier, Director Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union.
The Attacks from Paris and the Future of an Open Society
February 9, 2015 – Berlin, Germany
The terror attacks in Paris that took place in January earlier this year have terrified the European public. Especially the assassination of the Parisian editorial staff of the satirical magazine "Charlie Hebdo" pointed to the centerpiece of democracy: the freedom of press and speech. It has opened up a debate about fundamental questions and on how we want to live in a liberal society. With speakers from France and Germany the audience is invited to discuss the impacts of the attack and analyze what political conclusions need to be drawn. How can we protect the values of a liberal democracy against Islamic tendencies, who announced to fight against our societies without nurturing the rising islamophobia? What meaning does the attack for the freedom of speech and press and for the publication practice of the media in Europe?
Speakers are: Pascal Bruckner (Author, Paris), Micha Brumlik, (Publicist, Berlin), Thierry Chervel, (Journalist, Perlentaucher, Berlin) und Lamya Kaddor (Islam Scientist, Münster). The event is presented by Ralf Fücks (President, Heinrich Böll Foundation, Berlin). The event is a cooperation of the Heinrich Böll Foundation with Perlentaucher and internationales literaturfestival berlin and will be broadcasted with a Livestream.
Congress of Young Europeans
3-6 September, 2015 – Budapest, Hungary
The Congress of Young Europeans "(Re)Claim Your Space in Europe" is an annual green event, this year organized by The Heinrich Böll Foundation, the Green European Foundation (GEF), the Ecopolis Foundation, and the Federation of Young European Greens (FYEG) in Budapest. During the four-day event selected participants from all over Europe will have a chance to come together in this culturally diverse and politically charged Central-European capital and discuss their visions of the future of Europe following the theme of "Contemporary Space": the understanding of and role in virtual, social, cultural, and all kinds of public spaces in Europe. The thematic priorities are:
• freedoms, rights and liabilities in the digital age,
• urban future and
• education for the future – the future of education.
Additionally, a special focus will be on the current developments in Ukraine and its implications for Europe.
All year – Brussels, Belgium
The blog Reshaping Europe focuses on the question what reforms and actions are needed to reshape the European Union, its institutions and policies in a way that makes them more democratic, transparent and efficient. The writers are asked to comment on what is going on in Europe and present their own visions regarding three main challenges: the economic and social state Europe is in and how it can be improved (eurozone, (youth) unemployment, economic growth, the gap between centre and periphery); the shape of Europe as a foreign policy actor (reorganisation EEAS, Ukraine and Eastern Partnership, relationship Russia; Syria/ Middle East) and the state of democracy in Europe (democratisation and transparency of European institutions, challenge of right-wing populism and extremism, the “backsliding”of “new member states”, security and democratic rights; possibly migration and asylum policy).
The bloggers are: Armanda Cetrulo (Master student of economies at the University of Bologna), Daniela Kietz (Research Fellow at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik SWP in Berlin), Rui Tavares (Portugese historian, columnist and former member of the European Parliament), Professor Thomas Renard (Senior Research Fellow at the Egmont Institute).
Web Dossier: Europe@theCrossroads
For many challenges which emerged last year (or before) solutions are still far away: the horrendous conflict in Syria and the advance of the “Islamic State”, the alarming level of unemployment and poverty in many Member States, economic stagnation in and outside the eurozone, the increase of right-wing populism and extremism, the danger of Member States backsliding into corruption, disorder or ‘illiberalism’. And, there is, most worryingly, the general loss of faith in the European project and the European institutions. At the beginning of 2015, Europe is at the crossroads: it can muddle on (“business as usual”) and fail miserably or it can pull itself together, come to grips with its challenges, reconnect with its citizens and re-invent itself as the project of peace and prosperity it was meant to be. It has to act on many levels, immediately, efficiently and convincingly. The eurozone leaders and the new Greek government will have to figure out a way to get along with each other, one which makes sense for everybody involved. Not only the outcome of the elections in two other southern eurozone member states, Portugal (October) and Spain (December), will depend on this; it is the future of the eurozone which is at stake and, at the same time, that of the European Union, as it is doubtful that the EU could survive a collapse of the eurozone.
For this web dossier we have asked ten authors from various countries of the EU and different professional backgrounds to analyse Europe’s main challenges and to outline innovative ways of addressing them.
Green Summer Academy 2015
Politics – How can I say it?
The new comes into the world, as we talk about it. Now the question is how?
August 28, 2015 – Schloss Goldegg, Austria
The Summer Academy 2015 focuses on the structures and power of political communications. It discovers how new thinking models and motivations originate in words and images of the politcal language.
Alternative Progress Report 2015
Initiative for the monitoring of the European Union integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina
July 2015 – Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
The third Alternative Progress Report on Bosnia and Herzegovina documents some aspects of the countries' path towards the European Union membership. The report is a joint effort of dozens of individuals and organizations, whose common goal was to present the current state of the integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the perspective of civil rights organizations. Bearing in mind that the official Progress Report on Bosnia and Herzegovina is a political report of the European Commission, we believe that the publication of the Alternative report can influence its content. Having that in mind, we are publishing the Alternative report nearly three months before the publication of the official Report, hoping that it will have an impact on the official Report’s formulation.
The complete focus of the report is on the so-called political criteria, with particular emphasis on the following issues: democracy and the functionality of the State, rule of law and corruption, human rights, especially the rights of minorities and vulnerable groups, and transitional justice.