Democracy can only be sustained by democrats. This simple but trueful sentence comes with many implications that democratic societies must consider. One of them being: how to ensure the next generation of democrats?
This is even more important in a European context, provided that the Union is a community of common values and is becoming increasingly political beyond economic ties – to say the least. The institutional base for this was set in the treaty of Maastricht – with the foundations of European citizenship. At the same time, the rise of populist and anti-constitutional movements highlight the urgent need for active, democratic citizenship.
To safeguard European values and ensure future generations of democratic Europeans, ECAS and Values Unite are co-launching the “Alliance for Citizenship Competences” in Europe. The Alliance will bring together civil society actors whose mission includes enhancing citizenship competences in Europe.
Susanne Zels was one of the initiators of Values Unite that was launched in 2020. The initiative put the topic of civic education back high up on the agenda in Europe. Based on ECAS’ mission to “empower incites to exercise their citizenship rights” the Brussels-based NGO echoed Values Unite’s call and endorsed the initiative. In February 2021, both organisations then co-organised the conference “Enhancing citizenship competences in Europe”. It features a number of high-level speakers and was well received. And the work paid off: the EP report P9_TA(2021)0345 in (July 2021) has multiple references to the need for more and better civic education and citizenship competences.
The next steps will be to get more civil society actors on board and jointly carry out advocacy on this matter. This is why, today, Susanne Zels and Hendrik Nahr are co-launching the “Alliance for Citizenship Competences” in Europe. Civil society organisations (pan-European, national, or regional) that have a stake in more and better civic education in Europe are invited to join the alliance. More information can be found here.
The goal of the Alliance is to enhance citizenship competences in Europe. To get there, the first step is to grow further and to involve other civil society actors in Europe over the next few months. The goal that we want to achieve are threefold and mutually support each other:
Do you consider yourself a potential future member of the alliance? We are looking forward to further strengthening the group by growing over the next few months. Do not hesitate to submit your application here. If you have any questions or comments, do not hesitate to reach out to the alliance’s coordinator Hendrik Nahr.
Together, we want to shape European policies so that equal access to quality citizenship competences will become the standard for every European citizen. Ultimately, we want to ensure that generations of European democrats will follow and shape our continent’s future.