News & Activities

ASfE | 29 August 2011 | A Soul for Europe engages in European debate in online magazine "The European"

In May 2011 European House for Culture Partner “A Soul for Europe” started a media cooperation agreement with "The European" – an online magazine for debates. Six articles by members of the "A Soul for Europe" Strategy Group have been published on topics relevant to the initiative’s work and the daily European debate.

At the moment, the European Union has primarily drawn the public's attention due to the problems arising from the financial crisis. But there is more to Europe than the euro! These articles show that, for the members of the “A Soul for Europe” Strategy Group, structural problems do not call into question the legitimacy of the overall idea, even if there are areas that need improvement. In some of these areas, "A Soul for Europe" acts alongside its partners from civil society, politics, business, arts and the media to ensure the success of the European integration process – using both culture and the involvement of citizens:

Mobilizing Culture for Regional Development” by Nele Hertling (EHfC Member): Across the European Union, a diverse range of cities and regions use culturally-orientated activities in order to strengthen the very fabric of their social, cultural and economic lives.

"Why European citizenship needs a cultural component" by Kathrin Deventer (EHfC Member): Europe needs its citizens. Mobilising every single individual to assume responsibility for a "Europe of citizens" is a task that is both in the hands and in the direct interest of our political decision-makers. Europe's cultural diversity and the power of its cultural activity are invaluable resources and should form the very basis of this engagement between Europe and its citizens. 

"The Image of Europe, or How to Win Back our Continent" by Gabriella Gönczy: Is the European dream still alive? In a recent Eurobarometer survey, 39 percent of Europeans stated that their respective countries did not gain advantages from EU membership. In addition to the currency crisis, we are also faced with a communication crisis. 

"How Europe profits from culture" by Mahir Namur: In order to achieve a Europe with greater cohesion between its people, we need to take into account the role that culture can play. After all, economic benefits alone have failed to sufficiently engage people. 

"Think European, Act Locally" by Vânia Rodrigues: European culture resides in its cities and regions. The incalculable wealth of their cultural substance and the diversity of their values need to be appreciated not just from a local, regional or national perspective, but should also be seen as resources that can drive the process of European integration. 

"Democratise Our Capitals of Culture" by Raria Zbranca: The idea of a "European Capital of Culture" holds much promise. But to make the concept work, it needs to be focused on people and local cultural projects, not politics. After all, it is ultimately the city that is special, not its political management. 

A Soul for Europe is a civil society initiative that employs a novel, future-oriented model for cooperation between civil society and policy-makers. One of the main ideas is to create a Europe of the Europeans with the citizens’ responsibility for political mechanisms, rather than just a Europe of institutions and regulations. From bases in Amsterdam, Belgrade, Berlin, Brussels, Porto and Tbilisi, the “A Soul for Europe” Initiative is building an international network of European cities and regions, the cultural sector and business as well as European policy-makers. The very heart of the network is the strategy group with 55 outstanding individuals from 21 countries.