EU office: Newsletter - May 2022

Chemnitz celebrated Europe Week 2022 with festivals, exhibitions and exchanges

Recent months have shown that peace in Europe still cannot be taken for granted, and how important solidarity between countries is. Accordingly, the role of the EU in promoting these principles has increasingly garnered public attention once more. Against this background, numerous campaigns have taken place across Germany during this year’s Europe Week, starting on 9 May (official Europe Day), with the aim of better understanding the cooperation between the European countries.

During the campaign week in Chemnitz, the Initiative Europa an der TU Chemnitz e. V. (Initiative Europe at Chemnitz University of Technology) was represented with an information booth, a panel discussion and a lecture. The Lila Villa Women’s Centre marked the exhibition “Through the Eyes of Women” with a European festival on 3 May. Meanwhile, the citizen’s platform Bürgerplattform Mitte celebrated a spring festival on 7 May, with the theme “Asia meets Europe”. This was organised on Lutherstrasse, where different local friendship and culture associations provided visitors with valuable insights into the international communities and relationships of Chemnitz. On Europe Day, the city’s EU Office offered interested citizens the opportunity to discuss European concerns in a citizens’ consultation. Likewise, on 9 May, the Solaris Educational Center for Youth and Environment gGmbH Sachsen hosted a public exhibition on the topic of international exchange at the Chemnitzer Kunstfabrik. There, volunteers from the European Solidarity Corps of different countries presented their artworks about their international experiences. 

On 20 May, cities across Europe will once again celebrate European Neighbours’ Day. In Chemnitz, local clubs and initiatives will offer various opportunities to get together and hold open discussions in their local districts. The Chemnitz Intergenerational Centre will host a spring brunch, at which all participants are asked to chip in. In the Reitbahn Quarter, volunteers are invited to take part in the planned street cleaning parade to clean up the local area. At Sonnenstrasse Citizen’s Centre, an open meeting will be held over coffee and cake regarding the future design of the cultural high street. The project “Unser Knappteich” (“Our Knappteich”) will offer boat rides and other small-scale activities at the Chemnitzer Knappteich. On 28 May, the allotment association Vereinte Kraft e. V. (“Combined Forces”) will celebrate a garden party with allotment owners of various nationalities.

The full programme for Europe Week and European Neighbours’ Day:

European Philharmonic Summer Orchestra and Choir with musicians from five European countries

This year, the final concert of the philharmonic summer orchestra will take place at Chemnitz’s most famous location: the Karl Marx Monument.

In the German-Czech cooperation programme Ohren auf, Europa! Otevři uši, Evropo! (“Listen up, Europe!”), the Saxon Mozart Society invites musicians to take part in the European Philharmonic Summer Orchestra and Choir in Chemnitz. With the involvement of musicians from Germany, as well as Ukraine, Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic and Austria, this will be a real European cultural event for Chemnitz. For three days from 15 to 17 July, the participants, most of whom are volunteers, will rehearse the concert programme with the support of experienced mentors. This year, the event is being directed by conductor Elisabeth Fuchs, who, among various major concerts in Salzburg, also directed the opening concert of the Saxon Mozart festival in 2020.

The closing concert, which is planned for 18 July at the Karl Marx Monument, will transform Chemnitz city centre into a concert hall for the night. In the spirit of the philharmonic summer orchestra as a European project, Ludwig van Beethoven’s ninth symphony will be performed at the concert. The symphony famously sets Friedrich Schiller’s poem “Ode to Joy” to music, and has been the official anthem of the EU since 1985.

On 17 July, the popular Chemnitz light labyrinth will be rebuilt as part of the summer orchestra event. The labyrinth can be viewed directly following the Chemnitzer Parksommer event after 10 pm.

The light labyrinth is a symbol of life and peace.

Young people on exchange at fuu-sachsen gGmbH via Erasmus+ projects

The Czech participants provided the KJF kindergarten “Zeißigwaldfüchse” (“Zeissigwald Foxes”) with some hands-on support.

There are currently two Erasmus+ groups at the non-profit educational institution fuu-sachsen gGmbH. One group of students has come from a construction school in Kaunas, Lithuania and consists of eight students and two teachers. They are carrying out painting work in the facility, as well as in various buildings in Chemnitz, such as a kindergarten in the Yorckgebiet area. They will be here until mid-May and have already gained lots of practical experience. The experience will not only benefit the students, but the project partners too, who are delighted by the freshly painted walls.

This Monday, a further group, from Opava, Czech Republic, was welcomed to Chemnitz. The students have completed a qualification in graphic design in their home country, and will stay in Chemnitz for three weeks to attend seminars and workshops. The group consists of ten students. They will visit the Holzkombinat woodworking workshop in Chemnitz to complete some skilled practical work. On 10 May, they will take part in the Streetart and Screen Printing Workshop at the Tram Museum. They will also go on various excursions together, such as visiting the art collections on Theaterplatz.

The Lithuanian group explored the city in Chemnitz.

Eurocities build bridges for Ukrainian refugees

The large number of Ukrainians forced to leave their home country have been received with great solidarity in cities across Europe.

The English-language Internet page details the many ways that member cities of the network have shown solidarity so far, and how they have mobilised on behalf of Ukraine. For example, they have arranged accommodation, information points and free public transport, made plans for humanitarian aid, and much more. An online article also outlines what the German Eurocities are doing in support.

Business meeting of the Mobility Forum

At the meeting, an overview of the working groups’ work plans was presented, and upcoming political activities reviewed.

On 23 February, Arianna Americo, Coordinator of the Forum, and Nicolas Taverne, Chairman of the Forum, hosted the virtual Mobility Forum Business Meeting. In the meeting, new ways of working and the focal points of the new working group were presented. On the screen, Susann Mäder, representative of the City Council in the European working group of the Chemnitz City Administration, went through topics such as the European Green Deal, resilience and revival, public transport, green mobility and public spaces.

“Future Mentors Programme” gives the next generation a voice

To close the gap between young people and decision-makers, this year’s host city of Espoo is giving 18-to-25-year-olds from the participating cities a special role in advance of the main annual gathering of Eurocities. They will act as mentors to the mayors of their cities during preparations for the conference and on the ground in Espoo, giving them a voice in the discussion about the future of their cities. After advertising the role in February and choosing from the applications, Chemnitz will join other European cities in inviting four young people to accompany Mayor Ralph Burghart as local representatives at the annual conference. Highly motivated and engaged, they will grapple with important topics that they have personally selected, such as digitalisation in schools, sustainable city building and an outward-looking Chemnitz.

Depending on their life situations, the young people have different perspectives, which they will discuss as a team and debate with the participating cities across Europe during this segment of the programme. Currently, one of the young people from Chemnitz is designing a questionnaire for schools, to get as broad a picture as possible, gain insights into current questions and understand the Chemnitz perspective. The “Future Mentors Programme” started on 25 January and will culminate in the annual conference of Eurocities from 8 to 10 June in Espoo, at which a young mentor from each city will be represented with their local delegation. The goal is to continue the themes, approaches and initiatives beyond June, and to keep expanding them with a view to 2025.


“Pathways” – A trip across Europe on your smartphone

For a united and outward-looking Europe, it is important to understand not only its current challenges, but also its advantages and opportunities. That’s why the Foreign Office has funded the development of the mobile game “Pathways – Europe at Your Fingertips”, a virtual trip across Europe. “Pathways” uses an animated augmented reality environment and XR technology to allow users to explore historical buildings and politically significant locations with a 360° view on their smartphones. From Gare du Nord in Paris to the old town of Plovdiv, there are more than 20 different travel destinations to choose from. Players are accompanied by five main characters: Andreas, Lucas, Frieda, Magdalena and Yanko. They come from different countries in Europe and explain important facts about the various destinations based on their personal stories. This is a playful way to convey information, not only about the EU and its institutions, but about its accomplishments (free movement, human rights, economic revival) and challenges (unemployment, structural change, climate policies) as well. The game is available for free from the App Store and Google Play.

QR code to the website of “Pathways – Europe at Your Fingertips”

European dates from March to May 2022

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