FutureLab Europe activities focus on the broad topics of “democratic values”, “equal opportunities” and “European identity”. Within these topics, three core questions structure the work of the programme and provide a framework for debates and discussions that will occupy the mind of the FutureLab Europe participants. These questions will therefore be reflected upon, developed and debated in the different activities of FutureLab Europe, including in the blogposts, at events and conferences, as well as in the written contributions provided by the participants.
1. Democratic values in Europe:
What can we, as young Europeans, do to ensure that Europe’s democratic values are at the basis of our societies?
Europe is proud of its democracies. This form of government is often described as the backbone of the European model, as the essential pillar of our societies and as the founding principle of many fundamental rights (such as freedom of speech, voting right, freedom to undertake economic activity, right to strike, etc.) shared across Europe.
Many events might suggest the erosion of democracy in Europe. Low turn-out in the elections (be it national or European) – especially among the young generation – the growing dissatisfaction of citizens against the establishment, the low participation in civil society movements, recent constitutional changes in countries like Hungary and Poland are some worrying examples. But other events might indicate the opposite. Mass protests have erupted all over Europe when governments decided to undertake austerity measures and to implement cuts in welfare spending. New activist groups, such as the Anonymous, acting mostly on the internet and converting silent discontent into a tangible form are appearing. What do these examples tell us? Is this the end of the ‘old democracy’ leaving space for new forms of democracy? Are Europe and its political system outdated and is there a need to reinvent the tools made available to citizens and empower their voice?
Political parties and public commentators have recently come up with new ideas to breathe new life into our democracies, to engage citizens and bring them back into democratic participation. Young people are often the main initiators of new forms of democracy and have also their own ideas on how to make our political system more inclusive and participative. What can we, as young Europeans, do to ensure that Europe’s democratic values are at the basis of our societies?
2. Equal opportunities:
3. European Identity: