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Home 2018-06-18T21:35:16+00:00

WE ARE EUROPE!

COMMITTED TO TRANSNATIONAL EUROPEAN DEMOCRACY

Meet Giovanni from Italy, Maibrit from Denmark, Catalin from Romania and Susanne from Germany

want to set up an EU-wide animal welfare organisation, that can be active not just in ONE country, but across the whole European Union. They believe animal protection cannot be achieved successfully on a purely national scale. Did you know that in the EU today these young Europeans are not allowed to set up such an EU-wide organisation? Sounds strange? We think so, too.

On this website, you will find many more examples like this. Unfortunately, the sobering truth is: The European Union today is not a real democracy. Even though the European treaties refer to us as “citizens of the Union”, we are kept apart by national governments, who seem afraid of civic cross-border action beyond their national control. So, despite Schengen and all that talk of free movement of citizens, when it comes to civil society the EU still operates very hard borders in practice. We believe this needs to change for Europe to truly become a Europe of its citizens. What we request is a transnational European democracy.

WHAT WE STAND FOR:

A TRANSNATIONAL EUROPEAN DEMOCRACY

As citizens of the European Union we have our own legal European citizenship status within the legal structure underpinning the EU. But what does it actually mean to be a ‘union citizen’? In our view, it should mean that as citizens we have a right to have a real say on the EU’s future. If we don’t have a say and have ways of making our voices heard on the political stage, through votes or civic actions, many of us might lose our trust in European politics. We don’t want to let it come to that. We request the same rights we have based on our national citizenships to also hold true for our European citizenship!

We Are Europe! is a group of EU citizens working together for a transnational democracy in Europe. The vision of our group is to support the nice words of European citizenship with actual rights that will allow citizens across Europe to assume full democratic responsibility of the European Union, without being stopped short at national borders. Our mission is to fight for a European and therefore transnational democratic space, where Europeans can exercise their democratic and social rights irrespective of their national rules.

So why does it matter so much whether citizens organise nationally or transnationally across all of Europe? Most of the topics we care about today are topics that need to be handled at EU level to be effective. Whether that is security, energy policy, migration, climate change, or even social policy. Even for topics where the EU currently lacks the competences to directly affect change, much of how we organise our national countries is based on compromises reached at an EU level. We don’t want to change this, but we do want to give citizens a right to organise and be heard at that same level where policy is decided, the EU level.

Right now, it’s impossible for citizens to come together across Europe and found an association to fight for whatever one believes worth fighting for. Our civil society is split by national borders, even though we don’t need a passport to cross those borders anymore, we actually lack some of the most fundamental citizens’ right when crossing them. We Are Europe! wants to change this! We believe that as citizens we will only be heard in Europe when we join together, all 500 million of us.

WHAT WE WANT

European politicians want us to feel as European citizens, yet we are not allowed to have the tools we need to act as real citizens would. A democracy can only live if its citizens can play an active role in it, through elections as well as through civic action, petitions and a real public debate.We Are Europe is committed to achieve exactly this a true transnational democracy in Europe!”

HOW IT ALL STARTED

Back in 2012 a group of enthusiastic Europeans joined together in Dusseldorf to found the first instance of We Are Europe! Focussing on bringing citizens together to experience Europe, the association quickly grew into a local star among Europeans, organising debating evenings, discussion groups, speaking at festivals and allowing Europeans to experience other nations traditions, languages and ideas.

Following the detrimental year of 2016 and with the French presidential vote still looming over Europe, young enthusiasts from Berlin joined together to create the March For Europe on March 25th 2016, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Rome Treaties. What started out as a mere student project, quickly grew into a pan-European idea and with its substantial experience and contacts the We Are Europe! team decided to help organise marches across all of Europe. With simultaneous marches in 14 European citizens, and record numbers of 10.ooo citizens each in Warsaw, Rome and London as well as 6.ooo in Berlin, We Are Europe! decided to bring together these enthusiasts and create a force for real change in Europe.

After meeting in Vienna in the summer and in Paris in the autumn of 2017, the idea for a rebirth of We Are Europe! was born. With the clear goal to change the democratic status of citizens within the European construct, by uniting civil society across the union. Since then much work has been done in setting up the legal structure of this idea, accompanied by a change of statutes for the existing association in Germany and newly founded associations in Rumania, Poland and Greece.

We Are Europe! aims to have founded national pillars in all 28 EU member states by the end of 2018, but of course we are already very active even before then. Check out if there is an event near you in the coming weeks or how you can get involved. And if you do want to found a national pillar yourself, please do get in touch with us as well!

WHO WE ARE

We Are Europe! is a group of European citizens, who want to put the citizen back into the democratic heart of Europe. We are enthusiasts from across the union and are currently founding a We Are Europe! association in each EU member state, so that all of us can finally act as real European citizens.

 

WE ARE EUROPE! DÜSSELDORF is ready for action. Klaus Zimmermann (Germany), Erika Manassero (Italy), Pawel Golak (Poland), Zita Götte, Jens Baganz, Klaus Scherer, Anja Schrieber and Till Fuhr (all Germany) are preparing the ground (missing: Ljiljana Radlovic (Serbia) and Jenny Paul (Germany).

WHAT WE DO

European Associations

Did you know, that if you want to set up a transnational European sports club or a transnational association fighting for climate change, you can’t do this under European law? Whenever citizens come together to fight for what they believe in, they have to do so under national law. That makes it incredibly hard to be effective on a European level, but it also means there are no common standards across Europe, leading to potential corruption, tax and liability issues and huge amounts of bureaucracy. All of which, if you think about it, are a fast and reliable way of silencing citizens, who want to stand up for their rights. Now the bizarre thing is, that if you wanted to start a European business, profiting from coordinated rules and procedures you could do so under European law. But once again Europe’s lawmakers seem to have forgotten who should be at the very centre of it – You! The citizens of Europe.

European Parties

Let’s get back to our young enthusiastic Europeans Giovanni, Maibrit, Catalin, Susanne and their friends all over Europe. Let’s hypothesise they want to set up a pan-European party legally acknowledged in the entire EU. You think this ought to be possible? We do too, but unfortunately, it’s not! In our example, Giovanni has to found his party in Italy, Maibrit hers in Denmark, Catalin in Romania, Susanne in Deutschland and so on, being able to stand only in their respective countries. And only under extremely complicated conditions, and after years of electoral success, might they be allowed to join forces and acquire a Europe-wide legal status. Although even then, you could still only vote for the Italian party in Italy and the Danish one in Denmark. Is that still democratic? And is this really the way we expect people to discover their passion for our European project? Certainly not. And that's why we want to change it.

European Elections

Every five years all 500 million of us go to vote the European Parliament (EP). Those elections, often termed as the European elections, aren’t actually that European when you think about it. Each country runs its own national election and in the end the results are added up. So again, as a resident of a country you will only be able to vote in that country for whatever parties are running in your country. As such we continue to elect the best Italian, Dutch or French politician to lead us rather than collectively choosing who we believe might be the best European to lead us into our future. We want to change this and turn the EP elections into real European elections. After all, we do want them to be accountable to all 500 million of us.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

Café Europa: „La Grande Marche pour l’Europe: What kind of Europe does Macron shoot for?
Wednesday, 27 June 2018, 7 pm, Café Europa, Marktplatz 6a, 40213 Düsseldorf, Germany
 
Emmanuel Macron whirls Europe around. Against all odds, he won the presidentials in France with a firm commitment to the European Union. Within three weeks in autumn 2017, he held two major speeches on European politics, outlining his ideas of a sovereign and confident European Union. Since then, he has been waiting vainly for an answer from his German counterpart, chancellor Angela Merkel, who experienced some troubles in composing her new government after the September elections in Germany. But even now when the Grand Coalition in Berlin is in office, Merkel is maintaining her silence on Macron’s proposals. It seems notably some conservative CDU and CSU members make a stand against Macron’s fiscal ideas.

In our Café Europa in June, Jean-Pierre Renollaud, chairman of La République en Marche Rhineland, will explain Macron’s ideas on Europe. Afterwards, WAE members and guests are invited to discuss these plans with Jean-Pierre.

 

The entrance is free; no registration required.

TAKE ACTION

We Are Europe! is fighting for a transnational European democracy, because we should all have a say in where Europe is to be headed.

We believe we have a right to speak up, together & united, as European citizens. And so do you!

We Are Europe! is active in all 28 EU member states, so you can join us and become active from whichever country you are in.

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We launched our initiative from scratch. And we are well aware it will take us a long time to make headway,

given the obstinacy of national governments. Will you help us? Thank you in advance

 

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BLOG

Europe, which Europe? – The European Union has yet to be created.

“Why Trump Can Safely Ignore Europe, Its Leaders readily condemn but never act” Jeremy Shapiro, Director of Research at the European Council on Foreign Relations, writes, on May 15, 2018 in Foreign Affairs. Does Shapiro just convey the usual Trumpish anti-European propaganda? Or does he rather pinpoint a symptom of European helplessness, its inability to find a common voice, its unwillingness to strike bold actions.

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