European Civic Cooperation

First working group of our project Daring New Spaces

The focus of this working group will be the role of civil society, more specifically European civic cooperation in the European public sphere. Civil society actors can take the role of watchdog of European politics and push for the emergence of a European demos. By introducing a greater variety of actors, issues, and perspectives to the public discourse, civil society can make the European public sphere more diverse and lively. A strong European civil society facilitates communication between European politics and citizens.

The working group’s facilitator:

Dr. Sabrina Schulz

As a Policy Fellow at Das Progressive Zentrum in the “Structural Change” program, she mostly works on topics related to climate and energy, often with a European focus. Currently, Sabrina serves as executive director at the Berlin office of the ‘KfW Förder- und Entwicklungsbank’. During earlier stages of her career, she lived in London, Brussels, Washington D.C. and Ottawa. She studied politics- and administration sciences in Konstanz, Louvain-la-Neuve and Potsdam and did her Masters and Ph.D. in international politics at the University of Wales in Aberystwyth. She moderates processes, workshops, and events and focuses on how we can fund the transformation towards a more sustainable economy and society.

The fellows of this working group:

Thilo Buchholz

Empower a cohesive society without any fear through building an inclusive and diverse European Public Sphere!

Thilo is a European activist*innovator advocating for equality in youth inclusion in politics and society. For that purpose, he wants to build a digital public European language learning platform, introduce a European Community Service as part of Europe’s regular secondary education curricula, and establish a European Youth Parliament. He is a Liberal Arts & Sciences student of law & technology at Maastricht University.

Jose Miguel Calatayud

We need a real European public sphere so that the public interest at the European level doesn’t get diluted among concessions to corporate and political interests.

Jose is a journalist based in Berlin and a project director with Arena for Journalism in Europe, a non-profit foundation that promotes cross-border collaborative journalism. After being based in East Africa and in Turkey and the Middle East, he moved back to Europe and did research on citizen political engagement and democracy. And most recently, also through his work with Arena, he’s been focusing on cross-border investigations in Europe.

Ognyan Georgiev

If the union is to survive, its people must believe it can help them make their lives better. Or at least not stand in the way.

Ognyan is a journalist, covering Regional development, EU integration, and EU funding for regions in the past 10 years. As such, he has seen firsthand how corruption and vested interests can kill a good idea and how a citizen’s movement can overcome a political crony. In the last year, he was a Fulbright scholar in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, Cambridge. He has returned inspired to do more for community building and citizen empowerment, as he believes local democracy is the best way to counteract the slide towards authoritarianism that we see on the national level.

Anna Krenz

The European public sphere is crucial for all of us – We create it, it creates us.

Anna is an artist, architect, and editor, graduated from the Department of Architecture at the Poznan University of Technology and Energy, Environment & Sustainable Design Graduate Studies at the Architectural Association in London. Since 2001, she has worked for Folkecenter for Renewable Energy, Denmark as a freelance creative member. Together with Preben Maegaard and Wolfgang Palz, she was editor of the book „Wind Power for the World. The Rise of Modern Wind Energy“ and „Wind Power for the World. International Reviews and Developments“. From 2003 till 2012, was co-owner of Galerie ZERO in Berlin, an exchange and exhibition space for Eastern European artists with a focus on Polish art. Anna Krenz is an activist and founder of Dziewuchy Berlin – Polish women’s grassroots group, which supports Polish women and actively fights for women’s (human) rights.

Valerie Sternberg

Because WE are Europe!

Valerie is Co-President of Volt Europa, a progressive European movement with political parties in 16 EU countries. She co-founded its German chapter and served as its President in 2018 and 2019 throughout its successful European elections campaign. Next to this, she works as a Public Affairs consultant in Berlin and Brussels. Valerie holds a MA in European Studies from the University of Bath and University of Siena.

Ffion Storer Jones

The future of Europe relies on a healthy European public sphere.

Ffion grew up on her family’s farm in Mid Wales, and now splits her time between there and Brussels. An alumna of the Welsh Government’s 2019 Rural Leadership Agri-Academy, Ffion currently sits on the Rural Youth Project’s Steering Committee and co-founded the European Rural Youth Forum. She’s a current recipient of a Henry Plumb Foundation communicators and future leaders grant, researching the needs and aspirations of rural young people in Wales.


Paulina Fröhlich

Deputy Managing Director and Head of Resilient Democracy
Paulina Fröhlich is Deputy Managing Director and Head of the Future of Democracy Programme.

Dr. Sabrina Schulz

Policy Fellow
Sabrina Schulz is a strategy and communications consultant in the fields of climate, energy transition, ESG and sustainable finance. Previously, she was a board member of econnext AG, a holding company for start-ups in the field of climate and sustainability, worked as director of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Germany, headed the Berlin office of KfW Förder- und Entwicklungsbank and was founding director of the Berlin office of E3G - Third Generation Environmentalism.

Dr. Maria Skóra

Policy Fellow, Research Associate (Institut für Europäische Politik)
Maria Skóra is a Research Associate at the Institut für Europäische Politik and a policy fellow at Das Progressive Zentrum. Previously, she was head of the International Dialogue program at Das Progressive Zentrum. She holds a master's degree in sociology and a PhD in economics. 2018 Alumna of the Young Leaders Program at the Aspen Institute Central Europe in Prague. 2019 Visiting Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and AICGS, Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC.

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