The process of European integration has come to a point where it cannot proceed without the active participation of the citizens of Europe! The unification of Europe has in the past mainly focused on political and economic aspects, leaving the integration of civil society at the margins of its agenda. We think the time has come to change the focus of the EU and to put the citizens of Europe first in the process of European integration. This will in time lead to a united Europe at grass-roots level. We acknowledge that increased efforts from citizens themselves will be necessary to achieve this goal, which is largely outside the scope of national political parties.
We, the supporters of this initiative, ask the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission to implement the following changes:
20 billion Euros yearly for programmes such as Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Youth in Action etc. Impediments shall be reduced and financial grants increased to enhance the attractiveness of these programmes. Spending time in a foreign country is an extremely valuable experience and shall be made accessible to as many people as possible!
The upper age limit for doing a European Voluntary Service (currently set at 30 years) shall be scrapped to give all people, irrespective of their age, the chance to experience Europe and help others. Increased efforts shall be made for volunteers to fully integrate into the host society, e.g. by offering language classes and classes about the host country's traditions, history, customs etc. throughout the service.
An Open Method of Coordination shall be initiated to ensure that 20% of Europeans have voluntarily spent at least 20 weeks in another European country (with a different native language) by the year 2020. Eurobarometer surveys shall regularly explore if citizens are aware of European exchange opportunities and, if yes, reasons why these opportunities are not taken up.
A united Europe cannot be achieved solely on a political or technocratic basis. We need to get Europe into the heads and lives of ordinary citizens! This initiative shall be completely unaffiliated to any political party or movement. We believe that a united Europe will have to be achieved first and foremost on a civil society level. To that end, we call on academics, cosmopolitans and artists to speak up in public about the benefits and, in fact, the necessity of implementing the policy changes envisioned in this initiative to attain a common European identity - the original finalité of the 'European Dream'.
* This manifesto has been assembled by 10 generations of participants in the Convention of Young European Citizens in Cluny, France (see here). It has been unanimously adopted as their 10-year-anniversary produit final in an electronic vote of 03 October 2010.
The 'Convention of Young European Citizens, Cluny 2010' has also been awarded the 1st prize (French Laureate) of the EUROPEAN CHARLEMAGNE YOUTH PRIZE 2011 (see here)!