Common Values for the European Public Sphere

The Third Episode of our Podcast Talking Progress.


Our new podcast Talking Progress dives headfirst into everything progressive. In its first series, we analyse what needs to be achieved to create a European Public Sphere. In its third episode, we have invited two guests to evaluate how Europeans appraise European values and why the European Union should implement civic education.

Shared values like the rule of law and respect for freedom, democracy, and equality have to be the foundation of a strong European Public Sphere. In this episode, Susanne Zels makes a case for the role civic education should play in strengthening European democracy and deepening the values shared by Europeans. Together with Jana Puglierin, we try to answer how the pandemic has affected European solidarity and the European’s connection with their value system.

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Our two guests are living examples of how transnational activism can be effective:

Susanne Zels is Co-Founder and Manager at Values Unite. She was Programme Director, Board Member, and Co-President at Polis180, a grassroots think tank for foreign and European policy in Berlin. Susanne is a project fellow at Daring New Spaces, a transnational project developing ideas to foster a European Public Sphere.

She pitches Values Unite, an initiative that advocates for establishing a European Agency for Citizenship Education to nourish and safeguard European values such as democracy, rule of law and equality in all member states. Susanne claims that many Europeans are willing to engage but the EU needs to provide them with the tools to enable them.

Dr Jana Puglierin is Head of the Berlin Office of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) as well as Senior Policy Fellow for the ECFR since January 2020. She shares data on the reality of practised European values. A recent poll by the ECFR, the “European Solidarity Tracker“, reveals how the European Union plays an important role in the pandemic’s crisis management.

Moreover, the poll shows that European solidarity is soaring which indicates a major difference between this crisis compared to the past ones. Jana urges the EU to engage more Europeans in debates on “European values”, e.g., where freedom begins or where it should be limited, to gain a broader understanding of how all Europeans feel about fundamental values.



Annika Hoffmann war ab Januar 2021 Assistentin im Kommunikationsteam. Nach ihrem Dualen Studium an der TH Köln führte sie ihre Leidenschaft für Journalismus und Hörfunk nach Brüssel - zum Master in Communication Sciences an der Vrije Universiteit Brussel mit Fokus auf 'Journalism and Media in Europe'. Hier begeisterte sie sich für Kommunikationswissenschaft und Diskursforschung. Auch in Zukunft möchte sie ihre Interessen in Politik, ideologischer Kommunikation und die Zukunft der liberalen Demokratie, weiter verfolgen und den Schwerpunkt Diskurs und Ideologie rechter und populistischer Akteure, vertiefen. Privat engagiert sie sich ehrenamtlich beim grassroots Think Tank Club Alpbach Belgium Brussels (Teil des Forum Alpbach Network) als Scholarship Coordinator und Vorstandsmitglied.
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