Maastricht will host a workshop for a dialogue on the future of Europe. This was announced during the closing ceremony of the Europe Calling! event, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the treaty of Maastricht. Maastricht University, the Province of Limburg, and the Municipality of Maastricht will lead the project under the motto ‘Working on Europe.’
‘Working on Europe’ (working title) is aimed predominantly at European citizens, and looks to bringing both proponents and opponents of European unification closer together. Both sides, often diametrically opposed, must be heard and engage with each other.
‘It is up to the citizens to debate, and it is up to us to facilitate that. It means that we must ensure there are times and places to have the debate. Above all, it is important that the correct information on many different areas pertaining to Europe is available’ according to governor Theo Bovens, during the meeting at Maastricht city hall.
Mayor Annemarie Penn-te Strake of Maastricht wants young people in particular to get involved in the debate. ‘Europe is their future. They have to express how the new Europe should look and take shape.’ She also urged as many border cities and regions in Europe to mobilize themselves and participate. ‘Nowhere else is there as much traffic of people, goods, and services as here. Nowhere else do people experience as many hindrances from borders as here. Border residents and frontier workers are the real champions of Europe,’ according to the mayor.
Maastricht University assumes a central role in ‘Working on Europe’ and will set up an academic workshop on the theme of Europe. Because the lives of 480 million citizens are touched by more than geopolitics, the workshop is primarily focused on European issues in areas such as the economy, law and governance, health, the environment, culture, migration, security, and history. ‘As well as reinforcing the research agenda that is already in place, we want to make sure citizens can have their say. We will involve citizens while formulating the question and performing research. It is a type of citizen science,’ according to Rianne Letschert, Rector of Maastricht University.
The province, municipality, and the university have joined forces to ensure that the unifying power of the treaty of Maastricht continues to benefit all European citizens. Viewing itself as the place in which the European Union first came into being, Maastricht rightly feels committed to upholding the great European ideal of peace and prosperity.
The new project is one of the offshoots of the anniversary programme for Europe Calling!, held in 2017 in honour of the 25-year anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on European Union. Among the items on the programme was a youth event that attracted 1,500 participants from all over Europe. They closed with a joint manifesto aimed at European leaders and institutions bearing the message: ‘Europe is an intrinsic part of our future.’