“We will not allow uncertainty and political apathy to break up Europe.” That is how the Alliance4Europe sums up the reasons for its initiative, which many pro-European institutions have joined. The BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt is among the founding supporters.
Europe is a fascinating continent: Over 500 million people live in the 27 countries of the European Union, plus the United Kingdom. They form the largest and closest alliance of economic and political interests in the history of mankind, based on shared values such as humanity, democracy and sustainability.
“It is worth fighting to keep Europe together. We must work to preserve our values – despite rising populism and wide-spread euroscepticism,” urges Sonja Stuchtey. The 47-year-old management consultant from Munich is one of 26 European founding members of Alliance4Europe. Their common goal is “to create a framework within which Europeans who are indifferent to or disenchanted with politics can feel part of a community in Europe and work towards a pro-European majority in the European Parliament.”
To achieve this, Alliance4Europe created an online platform where pro-European initiatives can share ideas. The best example of this is its “EU Wiki”, which has already been joined by hundreds of initiatives from all across Europe: from trade unions to social entrepreneurs and nature conservation organisations to churches and artists. They all use the new marketplace – launched just a few weeks ago – to reach out to other pro-Europeans, provide useful materials and coordinate activities. “We stay in the background ourselves,” says Stuchtey. “because we don’t want to get involved in party politics. We just act as an ‘enabler’ for a commitment to Europe.” Alliance4Europe aims to help citizens who are silently witnessing the growing threat to European values to regain their voice. From there, it’s up to them to speak out for themselves.
Alliance4Europe uses a number of highly-professional approaches – for example, providing tools and analyses to facilitate targeted messaging: “In the last European elections, not even a third of under-35s voted. If we speak the same language and understand the interests of individual groups, we can target them better and maybe reach two to three million people,” hopes Stuchtey. The group also plans to use analytical methods more widely in the fight against fake news and help connect awareness campaigns.
That the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt has been one of the Alliance4Europe supporters from the very beginning sends a strong signal to the Europe activists. “It is vital that as many groups, initiatives, institutions and companies as possible sit around the table to take Europe forward together,” says Stuchtey. Dr Michael Schaefer, chairman of the Foundation, agrees: “Historic European elections are coming up. By voting for a pro-European party, responsible citizens can help build a strong Europe based on liberal and democratic values.” Alliance4Europe supports all citizens’ movements with this aim.
Another assignment for the initiative is already taking shape: The rock band Queen from the Brexit-plagued United Kingdom has given Alliance4Europe the go-ahead for a remake of one of their songs. There can hardly be a more positive title for the current difficult situation in Europe than the anthem “Friends Will Be Friends”.