Paving the Way Towards Resilient European Civic Cooperation

This paper was created in the context of “Daring New Spaces: Striving towards a European Public Sphere”


The focus of this vision paper is 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. Read this paper to learn how a strong European civil society facilitates communication between European politics and citizens.

This paper outlines challenges and opportunities to create a robust and resilient European public sphere. First, we present an overarching vision of a possible European public sphere in 2025 as well as milestones that need to be reached to achieve such a reality. We then narrow in by presenting a vision of a cooperation-based European Union supported by a more interconnected European civil society.

These bold visions assist us in developing policy recommendations and gathering existing successful practices that bring us closer to a truly European public sphere. The ideas presented have emerged in a collaborative and co-creative process of exchange amongst experts and professionals passionate for a more united Europe. This future-oriented exercise was launched within the Daring New Spaces project in a working group focussing on European civic cooperation.


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.
Foreign Policy and the Just Transition
Building a bridge between foreign policy and the underlying economic and social changes which arise as part of the challenges of the energy transition
Thilo is a European activist*innovator advocating for equality in youth inclusion in politics and society.

Jose Miguel Calatayud

Arena for Journalism in Europe
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.
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.
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.
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 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.

About the authors

This Vision Paper was written by the first working group of our project Daring New Spaces“European Civic Cooperation” – facilitated by Dr Sabrina Schulz.

About the project

This paper was created in the context of “Daring New Spaces: Striving towards a European Public Sphere”, a project initiated by Das Progressive Zentrum in cooperation with the German Federal Foreign Office, the Stiftung Mercator, and with the expert support of European Council for Foreign Relations. Visit the project page to find out more.

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