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New Narrative for Europe: Artists, intellectuals and scientists stand up for Europe

President Barroso

On Saturday 1 March, in the presence of President Barroso and Chancellor Merkel, artists, scientists and intellectuals unveiled the final declaration on the "New Narrative for Europe". It mobilises the cultural world and citizens for Europe andl outlines why Europe matters and why we have to fight for Europe and against nationalism and populism.

The declaration with the title "The Mind and Body of Europe " contains the following main messages:

- "As artists, intellectuals and scientists, and first and foremost as citizens, it is our responsibility to join the debate on the future of Europe, especially now, when so much is at stake. Confidence in Europe needs to be regained. In light of the current global trends, the values of human dignity and democracy must be reaffirmed.

- Populist and nationalist narratives must not prevail.

- The "Mind and Body of Europe" is our response to the call of the European Parliament and of the President of the European Commission to draft a new narrative for Europe for all citizens. This document is not a point of arrival. Rather it is a catalyst that we hope will trigger more contributions to the debate."

Thanking those who have contributed to the New Narrative for Europe, President Barroso said: "Your declaration unveiled today is your act of faith in Europe. It does not say that our Europe is perfect. But it says that Europe is our future."

In his speech, President Barroso also reminded of the walls that have been torn down and the bridges built to forge a new type of Union: "Today the "raison d'être" of our Union is also the same that was there sixty years ago: peace, democracy, to be freed from fears, mistrust and divisions, to share security, stability and prosperity. But why do we speak about a new narrative? […] I believe that while keeping those values that were at the origin of the European integration immediately after the war, there is a new narrative: Europe is indispensable for us as countries and citizens to be able to defend our interests and promote our values in this globalising world. […] The important thing is how can we react to it and how can we try shape it with our values. This is what matters."

He also appealed to the audience, saying "that together we are stronger to embrace the challenges of an ever-changing world while holding back some demons. Populism, xenophobia, extreme nationalism, all these demons we have been fighting are now pushing back."

Background: The declaration "The Mind and Body of Europe" defines Europe as a state of mind, as a moral and political responsibility shared by citizens across the continent. This project is rooted in its shared values of peace, freedom, democracy and rule of law. The Declaration reminds that multitudes of people are attracted to Europe by its common values and principles; they are encouraged by Europe’s achievements and solidarity. The second section of the Declaration recalls the Europe’s evolving narrative in the last century, materialized in three historical moments: the end of the war; the fall of the Iron Curtain and the burst of the bubble. The final section appeals on a new renaissance which meets cosmopolitanism. The text reminds that Europe as political body need sciences and arts; needs also its cultural heritage to develop a new cosmopolitanism. To achieve this Europe, states the Declaration needs brave political leaders, a committed civil society and citizens raising their voices to take part in the European debate to share their stories and concerns.

Download the declaration on the New Narrative for Europe

Full speech of President Barroso

Watch the video on the New Narrative for Europe

Watch the video of the event

A New Narrative for Europe

Further information available in the European Commission's Top News