A Soul for Europe - A Soul for Europe

A Soul for Europe (English, freely translated: To give Europe a soul ) is a civil society initiative that relies on cooperation between civil society and political decision-makers. Starting from its base points in Amsterdam, Belgrade, Berlin, Brussels, Porto and Tbilisi, the initiative forms an international network of European cities and regions, the cultural and economic sectors as well as European political decision-makers.

The initiative

The strategy group forms the core of the initiative. More than 50 young civil society representatives from more than 20 countries, from the fields of culture , politics , business , research and media , are involved in the development and dissemination of the ideas of “A Soul for Europe” through projects and initiatives.

The initiative is supported by a high-ranking Advisory Board chaired by Martin Schulz , the former President of the European Parliament . Other members include Hans-Gert Pöttering (MEP, former President of the EP; Deputy Chairman of the Board), Doris Pack (MEP, Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education), Erhard Busek ( Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe ) and Dieter Berg ( Chairman of the Board of Management of the Robert Bosch Foundation). The parliamentary, non-partisan faction of the Advisory Board bridges the gap between civil society initiative and the influence of political decision-makers.


According to the initiative, the European integration process shows that the relationship between the European institutions and the citizens of Europe needs to be clarified. “A Soul for Europe” is convinced that it is possible to move away from a Europe of institutions and regulations and to build a Europe of Europeans. It was the citizens' responsibility to intervene in the political mechanisms in Europe. This process is determined by civil society and is therefore controlled from the bottom up and not from the top down. Building Europe means national histories, value systems and the promotion of intercultural dialogueto integrate. Cultural activities must become effective for Europe beyond the borders of the cultural sector and European affairs, which up to now have been predominantly economic and political, acquire a cultural dimension. Culture is not a matter for cultural actors alone.


The work of the initiative focuses on the following topics and projects:

  • The Berlin conference every two years serves to reflect on and disseminate the goals of “A Soul for Europe” and assess the development status of the initiative.
  • Forum X - Giving Europe a soul: At one location “X”, civil initiatives with representatives from culture, business and politics practice cross-border exchange as a contribution to Europe's “culture of democracy”.
  • Mobilization of culture for regional development using the example of Southeast Europe . In this project, a guideline was created that is constantly updated in exchange with civil society actors.
  • Cities and regions - consequences of their shared cultural responsibility for the development of Europe. A guideline has also been drawn up for this field, which will be discussed with representatives of European cities.
  • European Capitals of Culture - Involving civil society in the preparation and implementation of the European Capital of Culture year to ensure its sustainability
  • Discourses about Europe , the idea and its future prospects. Leading intellectuals enter into direct dialogue with the heads of the EU institutions, represented by the Presidents of the Commission and Parliament.

The overarching theme until 2014 is the “Cultural Coalition for a Citizens' Europe”, which aims to involve all citizens in building a Europe of citizens. Any citizen can join the coalition and sign a document on the initiative's website.


Erhard Busek: One soul for Europe - tasks for one continent. Kubon & Sagner, 2008


Possibility of confusion

  • Soul of Europe UK is a group that originated in Great Britain and is also active throughout Europe (including Turkey and the Middle East) for religious discussion among different denominations and for promoting peace