One year before the European elections, a coalition of academics, artists, civil society members, public and private actors calls for the “Revolution of Hope”.
Imagine stopping a person on the street to ask them what they think about Europe. In the early 1950s, an elderly farmer replied: “Well, if it’s for peace, all right.”
Sixty years later, the same question was asked of an elderly Ukrainian lady. It is 2014, during the weeks of the “Revolution of Dignity”. The lady proudly displays a huge expanse of wheat saying that, thanks to it, all of Europe would be fed.
In contrast to that, in today’s public debate, Europe is often mentioned in connection with bad news, contradictions or, at best, major global problems to be addressed. Shaken by crises, European society finds itself divided. Yet, in recent years, “Europe” meant a lot: solidarity during the pandemic and coordinated actions to deal with war and the climate crisis.
Instead of calm discourses, we see a growing number of forces amplifying divisions – against European unity and solidarity. The context in which European elections will take place one year from now is extremely worrying.
We need to shape the political debate around young people’s priorities
According to a Eurobarometer survey, Europe should defend the values of democracy, human rights and freedom of speech. Since World War II, these values, along with speech, standard of living, cultural exchanges as well as friendships and love have grown where armies used to fight. After 70 years of peace and union, many Europeans struggle to see this.
The frontiers that once passed through Verdun and the Somme are now found elsewhere, from Cutro to Kyiv; not to mention the frontiers between winners and losers of globalisation, increasingly defined by the rift between economic centres and peripheries. The living contradictions that define the new “frontiers” must, therefore, be addressed, in order to rediscover the original purpose and spirit of the European project.
The predominant feelings among Europeans are, in order, uncertainty, frustration, powerlessness, anger, fear – all feelings that fuel division.
However, for more than one in three Europeans, hope dwells among those predominant feelings. An active, purposeful hope. The hope that drives so many, inside and outside the EU, to keep fighting for European values even at the cost of risking their lives. Europe must live up to this hope for freedom.
This is why, a year away from the elections, in the face of so many forces that seek to leverage division, we build an alternative. We propose a different road to transform Europe. A road that starts by listening to those who will carry the weight of the future on their shoulders: the young people.
In the age of social media, young citizens can be particularly vulnerable to misinformation and were heavily affected by recent events: the pandemic, war, inflation, joblessness and climate anxiety.
Our goal is to strengthen a positive dialogue amongst them, across borders and language barriers, in all their diversity.
We need to shape the political debate around young people’s priorities. We must replace the agenda of fear and division with their “Agenda of Hope”. This is how Europe and Hope will sound the same again: EurHope.
Today, we invite all young citizens, all members of civil society, all member states, cities and regions and all committed organisations to join the Revolution of Hope!
Francesca RATTI, Former Deputy Secretary general of the European Parliament;
Tremeur DENIGOT, Co-President of CIVICO Europa;
Guillaume KLOSSA, Co-President of CIVICO Europa, Founder of Europa Nova;
Daniel COHN-BENDIT, ex MEP
Jacques RUPNIK, Director of Research Emeritus, Sciences Po, former Advisor to Vaclav Havel
Gabriele BISCHOFF, MEP
Mikuláš BEK, PhDr., Minister for European Affairs of Czech Republic
Martial FOUCAULT, Director of CEVIPOF
Mercedes BRESSO, MEP, former President of the Committee of Regions
Gergely KARÁCSONY, Mayor of Budapest
Sandro GOZI, MEP, President of European Federalists
Zora JAUROVA, Producer, dramaturge and cultural politics and creative industry expert
Antonio ARGENZIANO, President of JEF Europe
Axel DAUCHEZ, President of Make.org
Alicia COMBAZ, CEO of Make.org
Inga WACHSMANN, President of Citizens for Europe
Bertrand PANCHER, MP, President of Décider ensemble
Emma SMETANA, Artist, performer, journalist
Nathalie LOISEAU, MEP, ex Minister of European Affairs of France
Maroua BOUZAIDA, Vice-President of Toulouse Métropole
Adrien DUGUET, President of Association Civic Tech Europe
Valérie DECAMP, Executive Director of Mediatransports
Jeanne BRETÉCHER, President of Social Good Accelerator
Clémence PÈNE, Vice-President of A Voté
Claus HAUGAARD SORENSEN, ex Director general at the European Commission, Chairman of the Global Executive Leadership initiative
Ignacy NIEMCZYCKI, Geremek Foundation
Alberto ALEMANNO, Jean Monnet Prof. of EU Law at HEC Paris, Founder of The Good Lobby
Damian BOESELAGER, MEP
Luca JAHIER, Chairman of the European semester group, former President of the EESC
Gilbert BOURSEUL, CEO of TOPICS
Olivier COSTA, Researcher at the CNRS and Professor at the College of Europe
Isabelle NÉGRIER, Director General of EuropaNova
Benedek JAVÓR, Ex MEP
Karine CAUNES, Editor-in-Chief, European Law Journal
Biliana KOTSAKOVA Lawyer, Human rights defender
Christophe LECLERCQ, Founder EURACTIV & Chair Europe’s MediaLab
Gian-Paolo ACCARDO, cofounder and editor-in-chief at Voxeurop