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Statement of Brussels
Thursday 16 February 2017

 Our [R]evolution kicked off last week, with three days of intense, inspiring and passionate discussions on the Future of Europe.

What kind of EU could we possibly imagine to make up for our collective political, economic, social, ethical shortcomings? In substance, this was the question our members, speakers and partners discussed, with strong calls being made towards actively striving for the refoundation of Europe, in view of the coming month's celebrations of the 60th Anniversary of Rome Treaties.

Based on the many provocative contributions of La Rencontre de Bruxelles - what kind of Europe for the Future? the team of LIKE has drafted the following statement. While reaffirming our commitment to Europe, LIKE wishes to seize the occasion of upcoming European festivities to create the momentum for debate, change, and ownership of our collective destiny. Do not hesitate to support this statement and share it around!

Statement of Brussels "What kind of EU for the future?"

LIKE – the network of European cities and regions for culture - gathered from February, 8th to 10th 2017 in Brussels, for the first event of its [R]evolution programme : « La Rencontre de Bruxelles – What kind of Europe for the Future ? »

During these three days, five of the crises questioning the future of Europe were looked into at the City Hall of Brussels, at the ATOMIUM and ADAM (Art & Design Atomium Museum) in order to draw perspectives for the Europe of tomorrow. Migrations, economics, European institutions and democracy, populisms and extremes, and finally, the European cultural sector whose actors are still fighting to be heard - these crises were dissected by LIKE members and participants, with the contributions of invited speakers, experts, academics, local and European elected representatives, throughout five distinct times made possible thanks to the active participation of the City of Brussels, ATOMIUM, ADAM, ALDA (European Association for Local Democracy) and the European Alliance for Culture and the Arts. After these exchanges, LIKE – the network of European cities and regions for culture,

Reaffirming its commitment towards a democratic and cultural Europe rooted in territories at the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Treaties of Rome,

Noting with concerns that the very legitimacy of the European Union is being called into
question and that a new European collective narrative based on the memory of the project of the Founding Fathers cannot solely preserve the existence of our European community;

Regretting,
  • That the EU, as a geographical and geopolitical construction - that of an area of free circulation – has been undermined by the failure of European leaders in managing politically and ethically the arrival and welcoming of the migrants, the displaced and the refugees ;
  • That the EU, as a single market, has not met the challenge of protecting citizens from unregulated economic competition ;
  • That the EU, as a polity with institutions, in spite of its many efforts, has yet to gain legitimacy in the eyes of citizens and civil society actors ;
  • That the EU, as a project of a community of governments, has failed to offer an attractive political alternative to the citizens whom now fall back on themselves and turn towards populisms;
  • That the EU, as a product of a cultural history, has not been able to cultivate and capitalise on the support of a cultural sector that has long been ready to defend exchange and intercultural dialogue between peoples,

LIKE calls European governments and European institutions
  • On operationalising culture as one of the pillars of the European Union;
  • On replacing citizens at the core of European building with reinforced mechanisms of consultation and deliberation ;
  • On implementing economic policies that are no longer based solely on competitiveness but also on welfare for all workers ;
  • On guaranteeing decent living conditions to all citizens, EU nationals or foreign, migrant or sedentary

LIKE invites local authorities, civil society actors and cultural actors to join this call, to mobilize in order to enhance European democracy and to challenge European authorities on this essential issue of the Future of Europe.

Brussels, February 10 2017