OpenForum Paris: Quarreling over Europe

 Why do we rarely succeed in achieving not only open and controversial but also constructive debates about Europe and the European Union? Which are the typical deadlocks in discussions and in which aspects are debates about Europe different from debates on national issues? What is needed in order to develop a new attitude towards controversial debates in Europe? These were the guiding question of ur OpenForum 6 in Paris on 12 to 14 December which brought together people from across Europe (France, Germany, UK, Portugal, Greece, Bulgaria, Belarus, Ukrain, Hungary, Belgium, Albania, Turkey, Azerbaijan). 

Citizens of Europe realised this project in cooperation with the „Maison de l’ Europe de Paris“. It was opened by a panel discussion with Thomas Herreng (Attac France) and Frank Burgdörfer (Citizens of Europe) moderated by Babette Nieder (Maison de l’Europe). During the workshops on Saturday the participants first presented items related to Europe that cause them a feeling of angryness, dissapointment or other negative emotions. Based on this, the group together reflected on the question why such issues often are not debated on a broad scale and how this could be changed and how an open and constructive approach also to the weaknesses of the European integration project could be fostered and fertilised. The event was closed by a guided tour to “Symbolic Places in Paris” with references to French history, important dates and personalities. Visit our photo album.