Who we are and what we want
Praxis Europa is a coalition of people from academia, civil society, business, administration and the culture sector, who wish to engage with the idea of a democratic, just and sustainable Europe, and to end the threat of its disintegration.
We have no Plan B that is guaranteed to pull Europe out of the crisis. There is no ready-made roadmap in the pipeline, and we don’t agree on every question of European politics. We are however convinced that fundamental European convictions and a defiant “keep up the good work!” will not suffice in opposing the toxic Internationale of authoritarian nationalists and populist entrepreneurs. Defensive manoeuvres will not defeat the spread of euroscepticism. Anyone resorting to such tactics allows the order of the day to dictate how they proceed and, furthermore, renders themselves a servant of the institutional status quo.
Instead, we need to set the agenda once again, and regain the power to prompt change. So that this does not remain a hollow phrase, we at Praxis Europa will claim the space and freedom that we require. Critical practitioners from various sectors of society form the core of our initiative. Most belong to the middle generation among those currently aged between 30 and 50: they must now agree on a plan of action – and also form a view on when Europe is needed (and when it’s not).
We can no longer retreat into the purely private aspects of a successful way of life. The rise of authoritarian nationalists has painfully torn many people, mostly early on in their lives, away from their Europeanized way of life: their plans and hopes are jeopardized and, in some countries, even their livelihoods and freedom are too. This rude awakening shows once again that there is nothing secure about everything that has been achieved in Europe up until now; but it also clearly shows that it is worth fighting for common concerns. The European project has to be repeatedly justified, validated and defended anew by those living on the continent. This too is part of Praxis Europa.
Neither the pathos of the postwar generation nor the enlightened absolutism of the functionary elite carry much traction with younger people today. And they don’t have to, since Europe is already there, and has been for some time. Here. And there too. Everyday, we all do Europe, we all create Europe. Whether consciously or not, Europe shapes our biographies and has long influenced what we consider to be possible and fair, and with whom we compare ourselves. Yet we do not always recognize this to be so. We intend Praxis Europa to begin by addressing this issue, with a view to revitalizing our thinking on Europe by raising it to the level of real Europeanization.
How we work
Praxis Europa wishes to show why we need Europe. We formulate and develop ideas for the future based on the everyday professional practice of our members. Topics handled are currently clustered around several “fields of practice”:
- Cosmopolitan Europe: We are committed to a democratic renewal of the European Union that starts at the level of the citizenry, and we support initiatives that make good suggestions about how to proceed in this respect. We actively encourage conviviality and solidarity between long-established and newly arrived Europeans and Europeans living in urban and rural areas.
- Social Europe: Our robust ideas for a socially just Europe refute the alleged absence of alternatives to neoliberal management and life.
- Global Cooperation: We think and shape Europe in the context of global challenges that concern all of humankind, and above all in the context of climate change.
- European Sites of Practice: We try to identify places and things that Europeans of different backgrounds and views are deeply attached to, and which might anchor community in diversity.
- Beyond Bologna: We are committed to cosmopolitan, multilingual and qualitative education in schools and institutions of higher education, as well as in professional and everyday life.
Praxis Europa is not intended to be a political alliance, but a discussion group and think tank for people from various fields of practice. We keep ourselves mutually informed about the latest developments and offer thinking space in which new ideas for Europe emerge.
Praxis Europa hosts an annual conference. The founding meeting will take place from 20 to 22 October 2017 in Essen/Germany. The conference language is English and Europeans from throughout the EU, as well as several neighbouring countries, will be invited to participate.
Praxis Europa is an internal network meeting. We will, however, host two public events: A debate on the digital European public sphere; and a literary “Salon” at the public theatre of Essen. More information on these events will be given in due time.