27. March 2012

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Gareth Harding, Director of the Brussels Programme of the Missouri School of Journalism, were the keynote speakers at FutureLab Europes’ first Europe@debate in Brussels on 26 March. They discussed FutureLab Europe’s publication One passport, one people? The role of democratic citizenship in building a new Europe.

After a word of welcome by Sven Tetzlaff, Head of the Education Programme at the Körber Foundation, one of the 10 foundations which support FutureLab, Janosch Delcker introduced the FutureLab programme on behalf of the participants. “Europe ought to recall its role as an advocate for social justice, human rights, the protection of minorities and democracy”, Delcker argued.

Following Delcker’s introduction Gareth Harding set out why, in his view, Europeans had still not developed a common identity. “There are many common European traits, but no European people. We have Europe; now we need Europeans”, said Harding. This led to a heated discussion with some of the FutureLab participants on the panel (Thomas Baumgartner, Apollonia Khan and Veronika Sobolová), who felt that Harding was being too pessimistic.

During the second part of the debate, FutureLab participants Estefanía Almenta López, Marian Cramers and Nevena Jovanović presented Commissioner Malmström with the first copy of the report “One passport, one people?” The report includes a manifesto by the participants, in which they call on Europe to rediscover its soul, as well as a survey among 600 young Europeans and a collection of blog posts.

In the survey, which was carried out among 593 young Europeans in December 2011 and January 2012, 45% of those questioned said radical measures, such as European economic government or Eurobonds, are needed to put Europe back on track. Asked about the role citizens can play in building a new Europe, 54% said there should be a modern platform where European citizens can post their suggestions or petitions to the European Commission and/or the European Parliament. In a sign that young Europeans may feel a stronger sense of European identity than older generations, 56% of interviewees said they would choose a European passport over a national or regional one.

Responding to the report, Commissioner Malmström said it was important for European policy-makers to engage in a dialogue with citizens about the future of the European Union. She welcomed many of the reports suggestions, and in a passionate plea for more Europe she argued: “It is only through cooperation that we can grow stronger, this is true now more than ever”.

The debate was streamed live on this website, and several viewers were able to ask questions via Facebook and Twitter. These were relayed to the speakers by the social media moderator, Mihail Kozlovs.

Download the publication  FutureLabEurope_One Passport_One People_2012.pdf

FutureLab Europe is a project of the European Alliance for Democratic Citizenship, affiliated to the Network of European Foundations and initiated by the Körber Foundation. It is operated by the European Policy Centre.