Situated literally at the heart of the European Union, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union serves as a forum of dialogue with the European institutions. By organising a regular frank exchange of views with political actors from the EU institutions, European and international organisations, NGOs, think tanks, the media, the private sector, the diplomatic corps and the academic world, the hbs European Union aims to inject green ideas into this dialogue and, ultimately, into the work of the European institutions.
2016 - the year of living dangerously
Never since its foundation has the European Union been so close to the edge as in the beginning of this year. The ferocious terrorist attacks in Paris at the end of last year and the continuing influx of migrants and refugees have shaken up the comfort zone Europeans had taken for granted. Civil rights are being eroded; the Schengen system is near to death; fences and walls are being built not only at the external borders of the EU but even between Member States; right-wing parties are gaining ground throughout Europe; right-wing Eurosceptic governments make decisions on European level increasingly difficult and that the eurozone crisis is no longer talked about does not mean that it has disappeared over night. The UK might be leaving the EU soon and this could foster a new version of the apocalyptic domino theory. At the end of 2016: what will be left of the ‘ever closer union’ which was once designated as the aim of the EU treaties? Will there be enough time to reconnect what has been drifting apart and what has been destroyed?
Democracy & Development
What we want
The work of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union on Democracy & Development is based on the understanding that democracy and development are a socio-political processes driven by citizens.
The adoption by the EU of subsequent constitutive treaties has created sufficient provision for the respect of human rights within EU internal and external policies including Common Foreign and Security Policy, trade, cooperation and development. Thus, the EU's external relations' activities must not only respect but also promote human rights and democratic development. Legal provisions on gender equality are, unfortunately, less consistent.
The hbs European Union promotes the integration and implementation of existing EU legal provisions on democracy, human rights, gender equality, sustainable development and civil society participation in the contractual relations with developing countries. This is put into practice with active participation from partners in Brussels and abroad.
Climate & Energy
Our main focus
Europe’s climate leadership is the key for leveraging political traction with others and securing outcomes at the international climate negotiations. However, Europe has become more divided on climate and energy policy, which undermines its credibility as a global climate frontrunner. The EU should boost its climate diplomacy to strengthen alliances with a wider range of countries and communities. At the same time, it is crucial to build support within the EU and its Member States for a European energy transition. An energy transition based on renewable energy and energy efficiency can not only drastically reduce emissions and other environmental and social burdens; it also reduces energy import dependency and hence increases energy security, strengthens local economies, and creates jobs. The Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union aims to contribute to the development of sustainable and ambitious European climate and energy policies by means of publications, capacity buildings, expert meetings, and lunch debates.