Pursuing the debate launched with the DIALOGUE ON EUROPE project, the German Federal Foreign Office has initiated a new series of Town Hall Meetings within Germany, starting with a meeting hosted by Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on 24 October 2016 in Berlin.
This Town Hall Meeting took place in the Federal Foreign Office, Berlin. Young citizens aged 16 to 26 had the opportunity to discuss the situation and the future of Europe with Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Keen to obtain their opinions on these topics, the Minister encouraged them to answer the question “What kind of Europe do we want?”. The event has been organized with the European Movement Germany (EBD).
Within the premises of the Federal Foreign Office young Europeans discussed measures to facilitate the accessibility and attractiveness of the European Union. Europe has been occupied with itself for too long, as Steinmeier pointed out, and has lost attractiveness. Furthermore he identified the practice of having front-running candidates at the EU parliamentary elections as a feasible means to tackle this problem.
When asked about their most urgent concerns, young Europeans pointed out that they are not afraid of refugees coming to Europe, but rather of Europe not remaining the way they learned to love it. In addition the necessity of no longer only talking about refugees, but instead talking with refugees on eye-level was emphasized.
This series of German Town Hall Meetings is pursuing a discussion which started a few months ago within the European framework of the DIALOGUE ON EUROPE project. Initiated in December 2015 by Das Progressive Zentrum, five #EuropeanTownHall Meetings already took place in Athens, Lisbon, Rome, Marseilles and Madrid. In June 2016 the German Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met with next generation thinkers and practitioners from all project countries for an opening conference in Berlin. The results of these discussions are now being further developed in Thinking Labs. To learn more about the work of the Thinking Labs, click here.
For more information about the DIALOGUE ON EUROPE project, please visit “About the project”.
Further reference: article in Süddeutsche Zeitung, 23 October 2016 (in German): „Steinmeier warnt vor dem Ende der EU“