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.
2017 has to be the ‘year of resilience’ for the European Union, the year Europe bounces back from crises, pessimism, frustration and negativity. But will it? With elections in crucial Member States a further rise of populist and Eurosceptic forces was feared, but the general election in the Netherlands and the presidential election in France have given rise to cautious optimism. However, there is no reason for complacency: populism has not been defeated – it can rear its ugly head any time. And it does, not only in Hungary and in Poland, two Member States who seem to be slithering relentlessly towards illiberalism, but also in other countries where elections will be held soon, Austria and Italy. Almost half-way into 2017 the relationship between Turkey and the EU and its Member States has deteriorated so badly that it seems to be beyond repair for the foreseeable future, which spells disaster for the ‘refugee deal’ and is a worrying development in the EU’s already tumultuous neighbourhood. In fact, none of the problems which haunted Europe last year have been resolved. The first months of 2017 may have provided some glimpses of hope, but Europe is still stuck in a tunnel, it can only emerge from with maximal effort and willpower.
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.