New Board of the European Movement International gathers for first meeting
On 24 January, the newly elected Board of the EMI met in Brussels to kick start the new mandate and brainstorm on the work ahead. It was a very well attended meeting and all new, as well as old, members of the Board exclaimed their desire to work hard in the service of the European Movement International.
After a few words of welcome by new President, Eva Maydell MEP, the Board discussed an array of issues, ranging from upcoming projects and events, our Policy Priorities and partnerships and collaborations.
ALL for Democracy
At the beginning of 2017, a discussion was launched in the Board about putting democracy at the top of our agenda. Discussions were held with different stakeholders and different organisations got together under the EMI umbrella to form the ‘ALL for Democracy’ alliance to defend and strengthen democracy in view of the 2019 European elections. The alliance was launched with a conference in Brussels on 7 June 2017.
The Board discussed the next event held in the context of the alliance, called “48 Hours for Democracy” due to take place on 15-16 February in Brussels. The two-day brainstorm event brought together 100 action-oriented Europeans from 23 EU member states and from different sectors and backgrounds, giving them the opportunity to share best practices and to come up with fresh ideas through intense workshops and debates, all with the purpose to increase citizens’ say in the strong and democratic future of Europe. The outcomes of the ’48 Hours for Democracy’ will be assessed by the organisations forming the ‘ALLiance for Democracy’ and the best project ideas will be taken forward by the relevant organisations. The event is funded by the Open Society Foundation.
Congress of Europe 2018
The celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the European Movement International will take place in The Hague on 24-25 May 2018. The event is coordinated by the EM International and EM Netherlands. Godelieve van Heteren, President of EM Netherlands, was invited by the Board to discuss progress in preparations.
In terms of basic notions, the event will be organised around three main ideas:
- It will be future oriented, in order to take into consideration the everchanging nature of the environment our members work in.
- It will be inspired and energetic, to involve the many new European initiatives and deal with the big issues of our time: climate, economy, financial systems, social systems, energy, security, the power of few, big data revolution, digitalization, automation, etc.
- It will look to connect and build new alliances.
The objectives of the celebration will be to build connections around the debate on the future of Europe, including a more bottom-up approach allowing the emergence of new ideas, narratives and concrete suggestions. At the internal level, we will also seek to strengthen the cooperation between our members, both National Councils and International Associations.
The outcome of the event will take the form of a declaration that will articulate the civic demands and commitments to building the future of Europe and will be used in view of the 2019 European elections. This declaration will work as an organic and on-line civic document.
For this event, the EMI will commit to:
- create spaces where different stakeholders can engage on the issues that matter to them and their respective constituencies;
- operate in the context of the wider conversations on the future of Europe highlighting the role people/citizens play and can play in achieving the Europe we want;
- convene people and organizations from all walks of life and engage society at large in this wider debate about the future, offering cross-fertilization; and bringing down thought-silos.
A non-exhaustive list of future events was also shared with the Board members, who had the opportunity to give their input to this important part of our work.
The following events were discussed:
- On 25 January, the EMI held a Breakfast Briefing to discuss the German Coalition Negotiations with Bernd Hüttemann, Secretary General, European Movement Germany, and Daniel Brössler, Brussels Correspondent, Süddeutsche Zeitung.
- On 30 January 2018, the EMI, ACCA (the association of Chartered Certified Accountants), the EU-Asia Centre, and UEAPME got together to discuss the implications of China’s initiative to link Asia and Europe together via new large-scale infrastructure projects in Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans (The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): Reshaping the Global Value Chain).
- On 2 February 2018, the European Movement International held a Breakfast Briefing with Ms Lilyana Pavlova, Minister for the Bulgarian Presidency, to introduce the priorities of the Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the EU.
- On 1 March 2018, the European Movement International held an event to discuss how organised civil society can bring citizens and the EU closer. The event gathered representatives from the EU institutions and from civil society.
- On 8 March 2018, the European Movement International organised an event on ‘Integrity, Transparency and Good Corporate Citizenship’. The event aimed at debating these topics using the current Volkswagen experience. It brought together the European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, representatives of civil society and members of the corporate world.
The Board members also discussed the policy priorities that were adopted at the Federal Assembly in November 2017. Following approval of the Political priorities, the bellow-mentioned Political Committees were established:
- Political Committee on Democracy, citizen participation and fundamental values;
- Political Committee on Social, sustainable, competative and prosperous Europe;
- Political Committee on Europe in the World.
Board members were invited to inform the International Office about which Political Committees they wanted to join. Subsequently, member organisations will be invited to designate a representative for the Political Committees more relevant to their work and interests.
Lastly, the Board discussed an invitation by the European Youth Forum to join the Erasmus x10 campaign (run jointly with the LifeLongLearning Platform). The campaign calls for a tenfold increase for the budget dedicated to Erasmus. The Board agreed to support the campaign.
The Board also discussed steps undertaken to set up a European Christian Convention and an invitation made by the initiatives’ instigators to sign a MoU for future collaboration. It was agreed that the EM International will monitor and where possible support the establishment of a European Christian Convention and will invite them, as well as other pan-European groupings of faith groups, to join the EM International network.
The next meeting of the Board will be on 24 May, at The Hague.