Like Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival, civil society should occupy the influential fringe of European politics says a prominent EU civil rights campaigner.
Former Labour MP Roger Casale, who heads up civil rights organisation New Europeans, made the calls at Volonteurope’s annual conference attended by leading civil society organisations.
He said: “Like Edinburgh’s Fringe festival which has become the dominant and influential voice of the arts world, I believe we, as a united sector, should occupy the fringe of EU politics ahead of the Future of Europe Conference.
“We have a unique opportunity as civil society to understand and crowd-source ideas about what needs to be done within Europe.
“We work on the frontline and see all the issues facing society, so we should play a major role in helping shape the future direction of Europe to make sure it’s a Europe of Citizens where all voices are heard and everyone can play their part.”
The idea of working at the edge of Europe’s political activities was welcomed by Volonteurope members during a political debate.
Volonteurope’s Vice President David Lopez, agreed that NGOs and others in the sector could help bridge the gap between citizens and politicians.
He said: “The question we’re all facing at the moment is what is Europe and what is European citizenship, as opposed to individual citizenship based on social, economic and cultural factors .
“As the European Parliament starts to consider its future, by working on the fringe of politics we can be heard and help bridge the gap between citizens and the politicians.”
Casale made his comments during a keynote address on the importance of engaging civil society in European policy and decision making.
The idea of working the fringe was picked up by others at the event including; Birkena Xhomaqi, Director of the Lifelong Learning Platform, Gabriella Civico, Director of CEV European Volunteer Centre, Julia Aramendi, Project Director of Voluntariado y Estrategia, Kélig Puyet, Director of Social Platform and Pavel Trantina, Member of the European Economic and Social Committee.