Time is running out with the European elections calling

by | 30. May 2018

Bonn, Münster, Düsseldorf, Wesel… The list of cities in which we have already built up our wooden dome within the European Public Sphere Tour through NRW is constantly growing. And on Saturday, 26.05.2018, we added another one. This time in a small group, we set of very early in the morning to gather the euroregional experiences of people living in the European border region and make them a topic for discussion at the City Festival in Wesel.
Even if broken screws, a small amount of helpers and a somewhat chaotic approach (maybe some sleep was missing…?) led to the fact that the construction took longer than usual, this did not detract from our mood and motivation. In addition, the decisive thing was accomplished without any problems: On the dot at the beginning of the conversation at noon, the dome was ready to be set up and prepared. And as before in every city, it immediately led to curious glances and interested inquiries from passers-by – despite its rather unfavorable location. Somewhat hidden behind the stand of the Malteser and a fixed wooden artwork, we had to compete against a dance club, which also invited visitors to join in and linger, accompanied with loud music.

 

In the discussion under the dome at 12.00 o’clock, beforehand invited representatives of the organizations Diem25, Euregio Rhine Waal north as well as a local politician of the Piratenpartei, a professor of the Rhine Waal University and a somewhat older gentleman, who heard of our project from the local press, participated. Unfortunately, on site we could only get a few people to join in and listen, most of them were content with a shy, short look into the dome; which may have also been due to the hot temperatures and the blazing sun.

“The aim is not egalitarianism but to learn from each other and to possibly become much stronger – through this diversity.” Prof. Dr. Ing. Rolf Becker

Rhein-Waal University

Video from our Dome Talk in Wesel
Nevertheless, a lively discussion (albeit difficult to understand because of the loud music of the neighboring stand) took place, which focused primarily on the problem of making Europe tangible through country cooperation. Possibilities include orchestras, choirs, sports clubs with members from several countries, student exchanges, school partnerships, ERASMUS and Interrail were mentioned. This would already make Europe concrete for children and young people. However, as one participant emphasized, the decisive factor is that there must be under no circumstances any egalitarianism between the countries.

It also became clear during the discussion that Europe exists at two levels, the political level and the level of citizens. In particular, on the latter the Europeans must be reached with the heart. Everyone has a duty to contribute ideas and, in addition to the existing instruments, to promote Europe. Because freedom also means using it through active participation. This led to the question of the political maturity of citizens. How much responsibility can we give him now and in the future? But no matter how you answer this question, everyone should be always mindful of one thing: “We are all ambassadors of our culture – regardless of origin, residence status and professional knowledge”; therefore, everyone must be welcomed and valued in society.

Other buzzwords that came up in the course of the discussion were a two-speed Europe, exchanges of experts and the European social policy.
Through the contributions of the oldest participant, the past and the lessons of the past for our time have been taken up again and again. At the same time, however, a look into the future was not forgotten, whereat the European elections in a year’s time is the main focus. Until then, the main task would remain to raise awareness of Europe and promote the election. But all participants agreed that the future does not look as gloomy as often assumed. With new hope and strengthened for a commitment to the “Europe” project, everyone emerged from the discussion.

Despite minor mishaps and partly hindering side conditions, a positive summary of the event in Wesel can be drawn at the end. And one thing above all will be remembered always: The heat… Yet again it was a lot of fun and an enriching event, at which great ideas and suggestions about Europe were mentioned. Due to these successes so far, we are not tired of adding many others to the list of visited cities – the next time in two weeks by Witten.

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Some impressions from our event: