Network of european civil society organisations and local authorities
for peace, european integration, citizenship, human rights and cooperation.
EUROPE FROM BELOW
Peace, Citizenship, Integration
After 1989 Europe has gone through war, nationalism, social exclusion and racism.
The tenets of peace, multiethnicity, democratic citizenship and protection of human rights have been often challenged, whereas european integration and cooperation has laboriously improved.
Since 1989 Europe went through about ten wars and conflicts and ethnic turmoils that caused hundreds of thousands people dead and millions refugees.
Millions refugees have fled, very often they were poorly welcomed and their rights have been hardly respected.
34 millions unemployed people and several areas of the world are facing conditions of serious underdevelopment, poverty and social exclusion.
Even in the richest european countries, about ten millions people face poverty.
Social inequality is still present, mobility, communication and exchanges are poor, impeded by laws and regulations on the circulation of citizens from non-Schengen countries.
There is a risk is to build "new walls" - a real cordon sanitaire - between the EU and those countries which are facing transition.
After 1989 the expectation for the birth of an "european common house" had to be seen in the right perspective, under the weight of ethnic conflicts, growth of nationalism, closure policies and the lethargy of integration processes.
The process, from the unification of economics and financial policies to the gradual inclusion of "proper" countries into the European Union, according to a strict yardstick, has proved poor, narrow and contradictory.
Notwithstanding the adoption of the Chart of Rights in Biarritz (December 2000), the Europe of rights and citizens is yet a far objective, subordinated to the Europe of currencies and markets.
Financial and economics issues still keep a big part of central and south-eastern Europe out of the "european house".
There is a risk that EU won't be able to look beyond its borders, to look at an enlarged european citizenship.
For these reasons we are about to keep on proposing - within this context also - the appeal "Europe beyond the Borders", promoted by ICS and Osservatorio sui Balcani, for the integration of the Balkans in the EU: an integration "from below", real and sustainable.
Due to constraints and contraddictions of EU policies in the last years, we ask to follow different paths.
• The path of courage for a rapid and wider european integration;
• The path to democratisation of european institutions, thus giving more room to the representatives of people's soveregnity and to civil society;
• The path to empowerment of local authorities, municipalities, regions, also via decentralised cooperation and transnational networking;
• The path to peace, conflict prevention and pan-european security, against nationalism, militarism, mafia and criminal economics;
• The path to a sustainable development, with a particular care for the environment, social solidarity and local community life;
• The path to a full enforcement of an european citizenship which has to reject any form of exclusion, racism and call for the rights and the reception of refugees.
Therefore, european organisations working in the field of human rights, peace, active citizenship, solidarity, development and cooperation aim to build an Europe based on these values, an Europe beyond the borders - that can be built by tearing down the walls that are still in place between the east and the west and by advocating for themselves an active role with regards to european, national and local institutions.
Via cooperation, collaboration and dialogue, we want to build a bottom-up network of organisations that represents civil society, european citizenship and local authorities.
Aim of the network is:
• To foster cooperation, exchange, training and awareness on the concept of that "Europe from below" that we want contribute to build up;
• To encourage lobbying initiatives and discussions with european institutions like EU, European Council, Osce, Ebrd, etc. and monitoring activities with regards to their policies;
• To build a european observatory and to issue a biannual report on concrete experiences of "bottom-up integration" and a "white book" on european policies with regards to the tenets of integration, democracy, peace, citizenship and human rights.
In order to achieve these objectives, we plan to start from the following tools:
• A newsletter with info, contacts, opinions, analysis and debates between network organisations;
• A web site complete with info, analysis, etc.;
• A biannual international conference with the participation of representatives of the EU.
Our committment is to build an "Europe from below", by creating a network of european civil society organisations to share experiences, to promote the tenets of peace, of citizenship and cooperation all over the european continent.
We want to follow a common path, to strengthen democratisation, exchange, solidarity, since Europe has to be a "common house", open to people, for cohabitation, peace, and not - on the contrary - a "fortress Europe".
For further info and to join the Network please contact:
ICS - Italian Consortium of Solidarity, tel. +39 06 85355081, fax +39 06 85355083