A Soul for Europe
1. Challenges in Europe
We are facing difficult times in Europe. As a result, we need to try to find common ground and talk about the expectations we all have in Europe for our common house.
The house stands for unity, a feeling of safety, a feeling of home, for the cooperation of its residents, for help and support in case of an emergency, but also for joint celebrations, being a good host, and for a home for people of different generations.
But a house needs to be taken care of. And we will only manage to live together well if we have equal rights, respect, and solidarity. If we are not able to solve our problems together, our safe home will become a fortress.
2. Debate about the future
There are many debates going on right now about what Europe is and what it should be.
To me it is about more than economic integration. It is also about the enormous cultural and political integration we have seen in recent decades.
However, many of the problems we face are the result of policies in the member states. Often policies are shaped by national egotism. Those who only want to profit from the European Union, but do not want to help those in need, will end up destroying the EU.
The debate about the future of the EU is therefore central, because the economic and financial crisis in the EU has not been resolved. Furthermore, the social crisis in the member states is key to the future of Europe. Solidarity between the member states ended when it came to the massive migration we are facing in Europe.
Unfortunately, we have also failed to find common solutions for energy, climate, market regulation, or environmental or social standards in Europe.
The member states now have to decide quickly about the future of the EU. The debate is also taking place between the people of Europe, on all the regional levels, and in civil society. We need a strong civil society in order to be a voice for a strong Europe that has managed to find common ground.
3. How cities can contribute to a solution
Civil society mobilizes in cities like Berlin for a stronger Europe. The movement “Pulse of Europe” is one good example of this. Berlin is a multinational and multicultural European metropolis. People from all over Europe come here to work, party, live, and love. These people see their main place of residence as being not just Berlin, but Europe.
In conclusion, people in Europe’s cities do send a signal of solidarity and of support for a common European house. People from different nations are learning from each other in cities and supporting each other. Here in Berlin we are trying to give fresh impetus to a democratic and cosmopolitan Europe.
Dr. Klaus Lederer was born in Mecklenburg in 1974 and spent his childhood and early adolescence in Frankfurt an der Oder.After the end of the GDR, he was active in leftist youth organizations and joined the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) in 1992.He spent the 1990s studying law at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin’s law school, where he earned a doctorate, and working for the PDS as a local politician. In December 2005 Klaus Lederer was elected chair of the Berlin Left Party, a position he held until December 2016.From 2003 to January 2017, Dr. Lederer was a member of the Left Party parliamentary group in the House of Representatives, Berlin’s state legislature, and was its spokesperson on legal policy. Dr. Klaus Lederer has been Mayor and Senator for Culture and Europe in Berlin since December 2016.