Reconnecting Europe with its Citizens – the Role of Political Foundations
Taking a proper look at Europe reveals a gap between its citizens and the institutions; the two founding elements of the integration process stand apart from one another. A new modus vivendi between citizens and the EU is therefore needed, in order to tackle today’s challenges and re-engage Europeans with their project. This is about Europe; it is about us.
This new European vision is crucial, perhaps more so than ever before in its young history. However, at this critical, defining moment, internal divisions seem to be challenging its core existence. Recent developments suggest that the very definition and identity of the EU and its relations with member states and citizens are becoming hot topical issues. If Europe is to play a role in the future, it will have to find a way to inspire, include and re-engage its citizens.
This policy paper was drafted by the ENoP Working Group ‘Citizenship’ and aims to provide a joint understanding of active European citizenship and some of its challenges, highlighting amongst others the role of political foundations, education and social media.
With its members representing different party families, the structure of ENoP fosters a pluralistic debate. Processes of integration cannot be taken for granted: inclusive debate that engages all citizens is essential. Recognising this complexity, the experience of our WG proved that dialogue can lead to a common understanding and position. In the first chapter, the current paper defines the concept of Active Citizenship. The second part elaborates on how to achieve an enabling environment for active citizenship, while the last two chapters focus on the particular relevance of two specific actors in the field: social media and political foundations. The latter is also illustrated by best practice examples of ENoP member foundations. The conclusion provides several thought-provoking recommendations.