Open Society Foundation

Funded by:
Open Society Initiative for Europe – Open Society Foundation




Background: Europe is at a crossroads and the many people who work on shaping and changing it are travelling extensively across the continent – usually without even having the time to talk to local experts, citizens and other like-minded Europeans. In four different workshops, the European Democracy Lab has gathered smart und creative people together to exchange innovative Ideas for a new Europe.

Objectives and Results:
Road Works Session I – Activate Europe. Online only?
Remote, bureaucratic, undemocratic – EU policies often have a poor image. Already the EU flag paints a picture of a technocratic Brussels in the minds of the younger generation: old men in suits, abstruse texts, almost endless negotiations, barely readable directives along with an army of lobbyists. There is a widespread feeling that we personally don’t have anything to do with EU politics, let alone have an influence on European democracy.

Road Works Session II – Activate Europe. On Stage!
Already our first session has shown that we as a European civil society often face similar challenges but aren’t lacking in ideas. The second session took place on December 10 and focused on the connection between politics and art. Special attention was given to theatre and political activism. We are pleased to announce the appearance of three special and exciting guests from the Schauspielhaus Wien: Tobias Schuster (Director of Dramaturgy), Tomas Schweigen (Director of Punk & Politik), as well as Ludwig Haugk (Dramaturgy) of the Maxim Gorki Theatre: who talked about their view on the interconnectedness of theatre and politics.

Road Works Session III – Activate Europe. On the Road!
How can we bring about change in Europe today? This is the question that our quests for the third session, Elena Askløf and Peter Laugesen, an extraordinary young couple from Copenhagen, tried to answer in their journey throughout Europe. From September to December 2015 they travelled by car through Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Their goal was to meet young people who are personally engaged in constructing alternatives in Europe. Protesters, artists, eco-village entrepreneurs were asked to tell their stories and about their projects.

Road Works Session IV – Activate Europe. Under Construction.
Berlin, the city – that is a historical symbol of war, division and reconciliation – is attracting thousands of people every day, all of them eager to realize their personal and political visions. Start-ups, political movements and cultural events are blossoming in a multicultural and rapidly changing environment. However, what does Berlin mean to us and to Europe?