Meeting for the first time in Helsinki, United Europe’s alumni and friends spent a fascinating evening debating Europe’s future in a year marked by so many national elections. With Emmanuel Macron leading the polls into the second round of elections in France, the group compared his young, visionary and positive message to the politics of Canada’s president Justin Trudeau. Participants concluded that Europe needs a more emotional appeal to win support for its principles of freedom, peace and democracy. In that sense, the success of the Pulse of Europe movement – which managed to bring thousands of Europeans on the streets in over 60 European cities this spring – is very hopeful.

The participants also discussed the #RomeManifesto and its vision for the future of Europe. An interesting debate ensued about the concept of a federal union. To Central Europeans like the Germans or Austrians, federalism means limiting the centre’s powers; to many other it rings of “superstate”. Yet certainly, the division of powers between the future European Union and its member states needs to be re-ordered. You can read the Rome Manifesto, a joint project by United Europe and Villa Vigoni on:

After a long and intense discussion, the participants enthusiastically agreed to meet again in a few months time to continue the debate and exchange about Europe’s future.

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