October 4th, 2016 – European Parliamentary Debate on #FreeInterrail, Strasbourg
The #FreeInterrail idea was discussed for one hour by members of the European Parliament and the European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc. We are incredibly humbled to witness this as a result of a simple idea that had its origin on an Interrail trip over two years ago. Most parlamentarians welcomed the idea and agreed that it would indeed help to foster a European identity and overcome tendencies of renationalization. Chair of the Greens, Rebecca Harms, and S&D MEP Istvan Ujhelyi, who have been working with us for almost a year now, pointed to our shared efforts and underlined the idea’s origin and support within the civil society. At the end of the debate, Commissioner Bulc declared that the European Commission will explore this idea further. Read her full statement here.
Süddeutsche Zeitung, October 4th, 2016 – “Generation Interrail”
This article by Vincent was published in the print version of the Süddeutsche Zeitung on October 4th. Coincidentally, that is the same day that #FreeInterrail will also be discussed in the European Parliament in Brussels. More on that later. Vincent particularly emphasizes the important impact of free access to Interrail passes in regard to healing a generational divide and reestablishing trust in the EU. Read the full German article on page 2 of the Süddeutsche Zeitung or online here.
ZEIT Campus, September 27th, 2016 – “Interrail: Reisen gegen den Europa-Frust”
This article by ZEIT Online’s Till Schwarze traces the #FreeInterrail idea back to its roots and shows why and how this idea developed: from our research trip through Europe in 2014 and our important meeting with Robert Menasse in Vienna to our first publications on this idea and its most current status, this article is a good summary of #FreeInterrail’s background. Read the full German article here.
BBC World Service, September 25th, 2016 – “Interrail for free?”
Vincent was interviewed on BBC World Service’s Newshour on our #FreeInterrail proposal. He talked about how we came up with this idea and made an argument why such an investment would be highly beneficial not just for European youth, but for a shared European future. Listen to the interview here. (Starts at 40:38)
EUobserver, September 20th, 2016 – “#FreeInterrail – saving Europe by travelling”
This article by both of us sketches out the development of the #FreeInterrail idea. It shows its very beginnings during our 2014 European research trip, and continues to lay out why our proposal to provide EU youth with free access to Interrail passes is Europe’s best option to tackle a variety of current problems, including renationalization, the loss of trust in the EU, and a divided and disconnected your generation. Read the full article here.
IPG Journal, September 19th, 2016 – “Reisend Europa retten”
This article by Vincent sketches out how our #FreeInterrail idea could by made a reality by the EU and what advantages and benefits would come along. The article also shows what road the idea has taken ever since being first published on in the summer of 2015. Since then, #FreeInterrail’s support network has been growing steadigly and quickly. Read the full German article here.
September 14th, 2016 onward – #FreeInterrail, Europe
Our #FreeInterrail initiative has taken off after several European politicians voiced their support for such an idea. It stared with EPP chair Manfred Weber, who considere this idea on the floor during the EU State of the Union address. Italian PM Matteo Renzi followed soon after, saying he’d like such a program. Many news outlets, particularly in Germany, picked up on those statements of support and wrote pieces on the idea. It is great to see that this idea to increase youth mobility and strengthen European integration has found such a growing group of supporters. Ever since we started advocating for this idea in Brussels in February, we are working hard to broaden the field. It clearly worked. Follow the official #FreeInterail Twitter account: http://twitter.com/freeinterrail
September 4th, 2016 – #FreeInterrail at #Z2X “Festival of the New Visionaries,” Berlin
Our #FreeInterrail campaign received a major boost in support and reach at ZEIT Online festival Z2X in Berlin. The event aimed to produce and kick-start meaningful projects for a better future and featured some 500 young thinkers and doers under the age of 30. At the two day event’s conclusion, #FreeInterrail stood as one of three projects that the participants voted on in order to receiver further support on this way to implementation. We are honored by and grateful for all the support, votes, and ideas that will help this idea to reach more Europeans and enact positive change for Europe and its youth. Thank you to ZEIT Online, Z2X, and many others who made this all possible.
June 23rd, 2016 – #EuropeLovesUK – UK Embassay in Berlin
On June 23rd, 2016 – the day of the UK referendum on EU membership – we headed for the UK Embassy in Berlin with a message of love for our neighbors and friends in the UK. With us we brought 55,000 signatures of Europeans who shared our message of love on change.org and a bunch of heart-shaped balloons. Unfortunately, police would not let us right in front of the embassy. We thus let the balloons fly into the Berlin sky right outside the security perimeter. We were happy to have three different news agency teams present to document the moment. The petition may be found here.
Photos were taken by Sebastian Glowinski
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung’s Europe Calling, Düsseldorf. June 16th, 2016 – “Democratic Europe – held back by the right? ”
Vincent participated at a panel discussion in this high-profile FES conference that took place in several European cities. The Düsseldorf panel also featured Birgit Sippel (MEP), Prof. Frank Decker (Bonn University), and Prof. Michael Rosenecker (Karl Renner Institute) and discussed ways to address surges in right wing populism. Vincent presented our ideas on youth quotas, free interrail passes (#FreeInterrail), and more efforts to support women and girls as practicable ideas to combat anti-democratic movements. You can find more information on the event here.
Global Media Forum, Bonn. June 15th, 2016 – “Can media help to prevent violence against women?”
Vincent was one of four guests of a panel at the 2016 DW’s Global Media Forum in Bonn. The panel discussed the question of media’s role in supporting women’s empowerment around the globe. The panel was co-organized by UN Women National Commitee Germany, the GIZ, the chancelory of North Rhine-Westphalia, and DW. Vincent particularly stressed the responsibility of men to support gender equality and combat all forms of objectification and sexualization of women and girls as that leads to continued violence and oppression. The audience featured women and men from various countries and ensured a lively debate, moderated by DW’s Jaafar Abdul Karim. Read the joint press release here.
June 7th, 2016 – #EuropeLovesUK – Stay with us
We started a petition with change.org expressing our love for the UK and our wish for the country to remain part of the EU after the upcoming referendum on June 23rd. We are honored to cooperate with other oustanding pro-EU campaigns in the field and are working together to finding more ways to spread the word and love to our friends in the UK. Sign the petition here.
100. Katholikentag, Leipzig. May 28th, 2016 – “Sind wir schon oder noch Europäer?”
Both of us presented on European youth and young perspectives on European identity at a panel discussion of the 100th bi-annual Katholikentag (Catholics Day) in Leipzig. The panel featured among others current European MEPs and a former Europeans Commissioner. We also happily got to present our FreeInterrail initiative that drew some attention and helped us to grow our network of supporters.
PolisBlog, May 24th, 2016 – “First Bridges: Improved Labor Market Participation for Refugees”
This article, that we co-authored with Polis180’s Kevin Müller presents the Frist Bridges programme. Designed to incorporate refugees arriving in Europe into the labor market, this proposal could effectively strengthen integration and business practices. The First Bridges ideas was developed during the 2016 Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung’s The Lab. Read the full article here.
NDR Redezeit, May 24th, 2016 – “Die Folgen der Wahl in Österreich”
Martin took part in a lengthy debate and public discussion on Germany’s public radio NDR on the consequences of the Austrian Presidential elections. The talk revolved around the tropics of right wing populism, the power of democracy, the role of youth, and visions for Europe’s future. The guests at the talk included experts on Europe, democracy, and election cycles. You may listen to the whole show (in German) here.
ZDFheute, May 5th, 2016 – “Europas Jugend: Auf der Suche nach Zukunft”
Generation Europe – the first generation of true Europeans, who grew up in a Europe without bordern and many international experiences – has much potential to change the continent for the better, but is currently still holding back. We argue that this generation deserves more attention, since it is Europe’s youth that can provide important and helpful answers to solve the countless issues and problems facing us today. Read the full article here in German.
Schwarzkopf-Stiftung, Berlin. May 4th, 2016 – “Stimmungslage UK: In or Out?”
Vincent moderated a public discussion with German Ambassador to the UK Dr. Peter Ammon. The event drew a good crowd, including many young attendees. The Ambassador urged European civil society to do their part in talking with Britons about the beauty of a united continent. A good reminder for all of us to think about own ways of engagement.
Our article discusses the importance of European civil society in solving current and future problems facing our continent. In fact, much creative energy originates beyond the parliamentary political realm, hence, this is where we need to look to find innovative and forward-looking visions and ideas. Read the full article (in German) here.
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Berlin. May 1st & 2nd, 2016 – “Building bridges: Overcoming distances in the age of refugee and migration flows in Europe”
Together with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, we organized, moderated, and ran a new innovative event format: The LAB. The workshop aims to bring together young, creative minds from all over Europe and established representatives from politics, media, and civil society. We were happy to have 12 outstanding young talents participate in the LAB with MEPs Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann and Brando Benifei, Prof. Gesine Schwan, SPIEGEL editor Ann-Katrin Müller, and German Foreign Ministry representative Yvonne Nasshoven providing input from their experiences and perspectives. The focus this year was integration. At the end of the two days, we had drafted two project proposal papers and presented them to the public at a panel discussion on May 2nd.