We are Europe!
Manifesto for re-building Europe from the bottom up
initiated by Ulrich Beck und Daniel Cohn-Bendit
A European Year of Volunteering for Everyone – for taxi drivers and theologians, for workers and the workless, for managers and musicians, for teachers and trainees, for sculptors and sous-chefs, for supreme court judges and senior citizens, for men and women – as a response to the euro crisis!
The young people of Europe may be better educated than ever before but they still feel powerless in the face of the looming bankruptcy of nation-states and the terminal decline of labor markets. Every fourth European under the age of 25 is unemployed. In the many places where disenfranchised young people have set up camp and made public protests they are clamoring for social justice. Wherever such camps are – in Spain, Portugal, the countries of North Africa, American cities or Moscow – this demand is being made with great force and fervor. Anger is mounting over a political system that rescues banks with eye-watering mountains of debt but squanders the future of young people in the process. But how much hope can be held out for a Europe with a steadily ageing population?
US President John F. Kennedy astounded the world with his idea of founding a Peace Corps. “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”
We, the undersigned, wish to provide a mouthpiece for European civil society. For this reason, we are asking the European Commission and national governments, the European Parliament and national parliaments to create a Europe of actively employed citizens and to secure the financial and legal requirements for the European Year of Volunteering for Everyone – as a counter-model to the top-down Europe, the Europe of elites and technocrats that has prevailed up to now that considers itself responsible for forging the destiny of the citizenry of Europe – if need be, against its will. For it is this unspoken maxim of European politics that is threatening to destroy the entire European project.
The aim is to democratize the national democracies in order to rebuild Europe in the spirit of the rallying cry: Don’t ask what Europe can do for you but ask what you can do for Europe – by Doing Europe!