Cultural Coalition for a Citizens' Europe welcomes the EU’s New Narratives for Europe project

30 April 2013

The Cultural Coalition for a Citizens’ Europe announces its participation in the New Narratives for Europe project initiated by the European Union and launched at the Center for Fine Arts (BOZAR) in Brussels on 23 April 2013. The Cultural Coalition, initiated by “A Soul for Europe,” supports the project which looks to find new visions for Europe’s future through its vast network of partner organisations such as the European House for Culture, and the European Festivals Association (EFA). The Cultural Coalition for a Citizens’ Europe will offer the New Narratives for Europe project the ideas and visions that are gathered through partners’ interactions, discussions, and debates with citizens across Europe.

EFA Secretary General Kathrin Deventer, who is a representative of the Cultural Coalition for a Citizens’ Europe, explained: “The New Narrative for Europe project is a great opportunity for all of us involved to bring together the citizens we represent through our networks, including numerous visionary artists and intellectuals, to allow them to have their visions of the future of Europe heard. The crucial aspect is that the vision is fashioned by the citizens of Europe but strongly supported by their political leaders who can take the responsibility to provide a strong framework for their realisation.”

The New Narratives for Europe project was launched at the Center for Fine Arts (BOZAR) in Brussels on 23 April 2013. José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission was joined by Commissioners Viviane Reding and Androulla Vassiliou and 100 civil society leaders to initiate this project. Over the course of the next year a new vision and identity for the European project will be proposed, reflecting on its cultural values in the process of unification. The participants represented a cross-section of civil society and the cultural sector in Europe and will serve to give input to and multiply the effects of the project.

President Barroso made a call to action that verifies the mission of the Cultural Coalition for a Citizens’ Europe: “Europe calls on you because we cannot let people think that Europe is technocratic or bureaucratic. Europe has a soul, and that soul is its civilisation in all its rich creativity, its unity in diversity and, even, its contradictions. In a word, Europe needs you and your ideas, your creativity to realise its full potential as a project in which every citizen is an actor.”

Kathrin Deventer (Secretary General European Festivals Association, Co-founder European House for Culture, Strategy Group Member “A Soul for Europe”), Rose Fenton (Director Free Word, Co-founder European House for Culture), Bernard Foccroulle (General Director Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Member European House for Culture), and Jonathan Mills (Festival Director and Chief Executive Edinburgh International Festival, Member European House for Culture) are all actively involved in the development of the project and are looking forward to building synergies with the Cultural Coalition. The project will next meet to discuss with artists, intellectuals, scientists and personalities from the cultural sectors and civil society in three open General Assemblies across Europe, in Warsaw (11th July), Paris (October 2013) and Germany (January 2014).

The Cultural Coalition for a Citizens’ Europe will contribute to the narrative throughout the year by participating in the General Assemblies and taking up the issues at stake as conversation fodder throughout its own events, debates, and publications, culminating in the Berlin Conference 2014: A Decisive Deal.

The Cultural Coalition for a Citizens’ Europe is initiated by “A Soul for Europe's” Strategy Group and its partner organisations: European House for Culture, Felix Meritis Foundation, Setepés, Stiftung Zukunft Berlin, AltArt Foundation, Foundation for Urban Projects and Research, Image Aiguë, and n-ost. The Cultural Coalition for a Citizens’ Europe is supported by the "Europe for Citizens Programme" of the European Union.

The aim of “A Soul for Europe” is to implement concrete steps and conduct projects to ensure that Europe makes greater and better use of its cultural assets. In the process, culture should be utilized more than in the past as a strategic factor for development – at the local, regional, national and European level. All fields of policy beyond the cultural sector, from social to foreign affairs, should include a cultural component.

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