Animate Europe 2019 “Europe+” is officially launched!

Animate Logo 2019 Europe +

What does the imminent Brexit, the ban on halogen lightbulbs, the difficulties to distribute refugees and the German emissions scandal have in common? They don’t exactly spark enthusiasm for the European Union.

But we absolutely want to spark enthusiasm – and boost the discussion on the European Union. Because a unified Europe is important to us. Because we believe in the potential of the European Union. Because exchange with other people is essential even – or even more so – when you disagree.

And we are also interested in your opinion, your story. Are you a comics artist and would you like to tell us what you perceive to be the added value of the European Union? What you like about the EU? Then register for our international comics competition Animate Europe, this year with the topic “Europe +” – Added value of the European Union.

For more information on how to participate, click here.

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Was haben der bevorstehende EU-Austritt Großbritanniens, das Halogenlampenverbot, die Schwierigkeiten bei Verteilung der Flüchtlinge und der deutsche Abgasskandal gemeinsam? Sie machen nicht gerade Lust auf die EU.

Wir möchten aber Lust auf die EU machen – und das Gespräch über die EU ankurbeln. Weil uns ein vereintes Europa wichtig ist. Weil wir an das Potenzial der Europäischen Union glauben. Weil der Austausch mit anderen auch dann essenziell ist – oder sogar dann erst recht –, wenn man nicht einer Meinung ist.

Und uns interessiert auch Deine Meinung, deine Geschichte. Bist Du Comiczeichner*in und möchtest uns erzählen, was du als Mehrwert der Europäischen Union empfindest? Was Dir an der EU gut gefällt? Dann nimm an unserem Comicwettbewerb Animate Europe teil, dieses Jahr mit dem Thema „Europe +“ – Mehrwert der Europäischen Union.

Details zur Teilnahme findest du hier.

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Quel est le point commun entre la sortie imminente du Royaume-Uni de l’UE, l’interdiction des lampes halogènes, la difficile répartition des réfugiés ou le scandale Volkswagen ? Aucun d’entre eux de donne vraiment envie de faire partie de l’Union européenne.

Or, c’est justement notre objectif, donner envie aux citoyens européens de faire partie de ce projet qu’est l’Union européenne, et de stimuler les débats et dialogues autour de l’UE. Parce que nous pensons qu’une Europe unie est essentielle. Parce que nous croyons au potentiel de l’Union européenne. Et parce que l’échange avec les autres devient d’autant plus passionnant lorsque les opinions divergent.

Nous, ce qui nous intéresse, c’est ton opinion sur ces sujets et ton histoire. Si tu es un(e) auteur(e) de BD et aimerais nous raconter quelle est selon toi la vraie plus-value de l’UE, quels sont ses avantages et pourquoi tu t’y sens bien, alors participe à notre concours international de BD « Animate Europe ». Cette année, le thème du concours « Europe + » se concentre justement sur les atouts de l’Union européenne.

Pour plus de renseignements, clique ici.

Re-Animate Europe goes Greece. Comic exhibition shown in Chania (Crete) and Oropos (Attica)!

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Animate Europe Exhibition in Chania, Crete

For the first time, FNF’s international comic exhibition Re-Animate Europe travelled to Greece, a country that for many is synonymous with the cradle of democracy and philosophy. Hit by a severe economic crisis, Greece is the right place to debate Europe and get a genuine feedback of what the people believe. Less than a year before the European elections, there is a twofold purpose: share a new vision for Europe, as depicted by the comic artists, and acquaint the citizens with some of the common challenges the next European Parliament will have to deal with.

 

Chania

The first stop was at Chania, a picturesque town in Western Crete. The exhibition took place from 07-12 July 2018 at the historic “Café Kipos” in the Old Town. The visitors, Greeks and foreigners, had the opportunity to admire the work of the comic artists, discuss with the organizers their vision of Europe, and take a free copy of the comic book as a European souvenir.

On Tuesday, 09 July 2018, FNF Greece hosted a special open event presenting the exhibition to the Cretan public. Prominent members of the local society attended the event to learn about the initiative and to listen to the speakers’ contributions. The audience was greeted by Elpida Tsitsiridou, Vice-Mayor of Chania for Culture and Tourism, who expressed the view that art can be a meaningful means for political messaging in times of crisis. She added that the momentum for traveling with this exhibition in Greece is ideal because especially the younger generations have to realize their responsibilities and make serious decisions for their own future.

Next, Theodoros Stathakis, Mayor of the town of Kissamos, addressed the audience saying that it is an honor for Crete to welcome such an inspiring exhibition which connects the island with the rest of Europe. He said that because Europe is in a state of renewal, it will be critical in the next elections to defeat the forces of populism and euroscepticism.

Keynote speaker was Apostolos Siokas, Vice-Mayor of the City of Moschato-Tavros, Vice-Chairman of the Young Liberals Greece, and a known liberal from FNF Greece’s network. Apostolos elaborated on the fascinating stories of the comic competition, stating that they are indeed marvelous sketches of how young people perceive and understand the European idea. He focused on the stories which discuss issues of social concern and linked them to contemporary European problems. “Immigration, social inequalities, the debt crisis and unemployment challenge the EU’s cohesion and enforce the extremes”, he noted. “However, it is time for us liberals to unite in a pan-European campaign and respond decisively to those who question our common future.”

Lastly a small intervention was made by Vasilios Stathakis, Manager of “Café Kipos” and President of the “European Historic Cafés Association” (EHICA). He thanked the organizers for selecting the café for the exhibition and mentioned EHICA as an example of European common cultural heritage which pairs ideally with the scope of Animate Europe.

 

 

Oropos

After Chania, the torch was passed to Oropos, an Athenian coastal suburb forty kilometres to the North. The collage of people of Attic decent and displaced Greeks from Asia Minor has created a dynamic and open cultural environment. In this sense it was a good opportunity to host “Animate Europe” in Oropos, following an invitation by the Mayor to present the exhibition at the city’s 3rd Annual Book Fair.

The exhibition was open to the public from 19-31 July 2018 at the historical building of the Old Penitentiary, especially inviting students, professionals, journalists, members of the local civil society and interested citizens alike to visit and grab their own copy of the comic book.

On Wednesday, 18 July 2018, the FNF and the City of Oropos hosted the opening ceremony for both “Animate Europe” and the Book Fair at the harbour. This year’s fair has a special focus on Europe and the European identity, so the topic of the comic book was very fitting to the overall theme of the event.

The ceremony was opened by Michalis Tolias, President of the Municipal Cultural Department, who thanked the FNF on behalf of the municipality for choosing Oropos to host the exhibition. Dr. Athanasios Grammenos from FNF Greece then described the central idea of the comic competition and its objectives: “We support the European idea, and we see Greece as an integral part of the EU. With this exhibition we aim to stimulate the dialogue about our joint future and stir reflections especially among young people.”

The keynote speaker was a distinguished guest, Haris Theoharis MP. An independent Member of the Greek Parliament and a liberal-minded politician, Theoharis elaborated on the meaning of Europe for today’s Greeks. “Since the late 1970s and for many years, Europe was an anchor for liberal democracy and a path to political transition”, he replied. “Today, the situation is different. Many new problems have emerged. However, the solution is neither to be found in isolation and nationalism nor in populism. Only within the framework of a united Europe we shall overcome our common social and economic challenges. We are looking for a modern European renaissance”, he concluded.

Lastly Thomas Roussis, the Mayor of Oropos, expressed his warmest regards for this pan-European event, hoping that it is only the beginning of a new connection between the City of Oropos and political happenings in the rest of Europe.

 

 

 

Markus Kaiser, Project Director Greece

Upcoming event: A Common European Defence Market – How to Tackle Fragmentation

Security_Bradley Loth - Kopie
Source: flickr.com/Bradley_Loth_CC BY 2.0

Among the main targets of European defence initiatives is the fragmentation and inefficiency of the European defence market. European Union member states currently procure 80% of their defence equipment nationally. According to a European Commission estimate, this leads to a loss of around 50 billion € in opportunity costs per year. Fostering a more collaborative defence market will be a key if policy makers in Europe wish for more capable and interoperable armed forces.

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The Future of the European Union: A liberal view from Germany

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Copyright: Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

More than five months after the federal elections, Germany has finally been able to form a government. This means that not only domestic politics can go ahead, but decisions and reforms on the European level can be addressed as well. How are the challenges ahead perceived in Berlin, and what are the different views on Europe prevailing in German politics?

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