About the Project

Throughout the last two and a half years, Das Progressive Zentrum conducted a large DIALOGUE ON EUROPE with actors from the civil society of eight European countries and with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office. The project came to an end on 19 March 2018 with the publication of four Policy Briefs on Migration and Integration, Populism, Social Cohesion and Sustainable Growth.

The German then-Foreign Minister (and current Federal President), Frank-Walter Steinmeier, discussing with 5 European “next generation” thinkers during the Opening Conference of the DIALOGUE ON EUROPE project on 28 June 2016 in Berlin. © Das Progressive Zentrum, 2016



Due to many disintegrative developments such as the Brexit-referendum and the rise of right-wing populism and especially the aftermath of the economic and financial crisis with its long-time effects especially on the South of Europe, the future of the European Union is at stake. The challenges ahead of us are too profound and seminal to be addressed by high-ranking politicians attending closed-door summits alone. A long-term solution can only be achieved with the support of a strong and well-connected European civil society which, unfortunately, is all too seldom listened to.



With this in mind, Das Progressive Zentrum in cooperation with the German Federal Foreign Office, initiated the project “DIALOGUE ON EUROPE – Rebuilding trust and redefining Europe in tough times”. The project gave rise to a two-year transnational dialogue process at eye level with young, promising thinkers from Greece, Portugal, Italy, France, Spain and Germany. This process brought together key actors from civil society, the media, politics, academia and the business and start-up sectors to help foster a climate of mutual understanding between the participating states and societies.

The new German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas with the contributors in Brussels on 19 March 2018 for the project’s Closing Conference © Jacob&Alex, 2018


How did the DIALOGUE ON EUROPE work?

The DIALOGUE ON EUROPE unfolded in three main phases: an initiation phase with bilateral Town Hall Meetings, a creation phase with multilateral Thinking Labs, and a multiplication phase for the diffusion of the project’s results.



In order to initiate the DIALOGUE ON EUROPE, our international team came across Europe and met more than 400 young dedicated movers and shakers of the national and local civil society during 5 #EuropeanTownHall Meetings held in Athens, Lisbon, Rome, Marseilles & Madrid. The events enabled lively debates in workshops and public discussions with the German Federal Minister of State for Europe, Michael Roth, on the most pressing European challenges, shaping at the same time a strong network of European think tank partnersELIAMEP (Greece), Institute of Public Policy (Portugal), Istituto Affari Internazionali (Italy), Jacques Delors Institute (France), Fundación Alternativas and Politikon (Spain).

On 28 June 2016, the German Minister for Foreign Affairs, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, officially launched the second, multilateral phase of the DIALOGUE ON EUROPE project at the Europasaal of the German Federal Foreign Office in Berlin, together with 100 young and upcoming opinion leaders and intellectuals from these 5 countries as well as from Germany. These selected representatives from the European civil society then developed genuinely European policy recommendations in four DIALOGUE ON EUROPE Thinking Labs on “Populism”, “Social Cohesion”, “Migration & Integration” and “Sustainable Growth”. Between June 2016 and March 2018, they had several virtual working phases with video conferences called “Sprints”, as well as three physical meetings, the so-called European Thinking Lab Summits in Lisbon, Paris and Rome.

On 19 March 2018, the final policy briefs of the four Thinking Labs were presented at the DIALOGUE ON EUROPE Closing Conference in Brussels. The honorary guests and keynote speakers Heiko Maas, German Foreign Minister, and Michael Roth stressed the innovative character of the project and acknowledged the relevance of the policy recommendations.



DIALOGUE ON EUROPE, a project initiated by Das Progressive Zentrum in cooperation with the German Federal Foreign Office.