EU office: Newsletter - November 2021

Conference of the Ministers for European Affairs of the German Federal States (EMK) held on 8 and 9 September in Chemnitz

The EMK met for the first time with representatives of the German Federal States, chaired by the Saxon Minister for Europe, Katja Meier. The choice of Chemnitz as the venue for the meeting, under Saxon chairmanship gave the city a wonderful opportunity to showcase itself. After a welcome address by Saxony’s Minister President Michael Kretschmer at the Carlowitz Congress Center Chemnitz, preliminary discussions began on the substantive issues. On the first day, the ministers adopted resolutions on the priority areas of German-Czech co-operation and European citizenship. More specifically, these aimed to strengthen the European Citizens’ Initiative and make the ERASMUS+ programme more accessible. In addition, the EU Ambassador to Afghanistan, Michael Roth, reported on recent developments. The day ended with a visit by the Ministers for Europe to the Chemnitz Town Hall. Mayor Sven Schulze took the opportunity to explain some of the projects that will form part of the programme during the Capital of Culture year 2025.

Discussions on the second day of the conference started by considering the European Green Deal. Political economist and author Prof. Maja Göpel and Stefan Kemmer, a partner at McKinsey & Company, provided expertise and input. As this is one of Saxony’s five priority areas for its time as chair, the topic will be on the agenda again for the next meeting. Next there was a more detailed discussion on the situation in Afghanistan, on the basis of the report from the previous day. Saxony’s other priorities for its time in the chair are the rule of law, democracy, equality, refugees and migration. 

The social programme included a German-Polish youth forum (inspired by a similar forum held during the Saarland presidency), a discussion evening on European citizenship, the awards ceremony for the New European Bauhaus competition for school pupils, and a European walk with Anna Cavazzini, a Member of the European Parliament.

Saxony’s presidency will see politicians from the federal states meeting for two further conferences in Brussels and Berlin in February and June 2022 respectively.

German-Polish Youth Forum during the EMK in Chemnitz

Group photo of Youth Forum participants

The conference social programme included a German-Polish youth forum organised by the German-Polish Youth Office in collaboration with the European Academy Otzenhausen and the Saxon State Ministry of Justice, Democracy, European Affairs and Equality.

Thirty-two participants from the two countries met in Chemnitz from 6 to 10 September and attended joint workshops, learned about each others' countries, met with German and Polish European politicians and had a discussion with the Saxon Minister for Europe. The aim of the forum was to develop political demands, which the participants then presented to the EMK.

Their demands focused on greater involvement for young people in the shaping of European policies, defending the EU and its values, strengthening media pluralism, migration, asylum and environmental protection policies, and equality of educational opportunity. Their constructive and productive contribution showed that current and future generations have a common interest in working together to shape European politics.

“CommEUnity” project to provide support and advice to EU citizens

AGUIA e. V. does valuable work on migration, youth and education.

AGUIA e. V’s new project was launched to help EU citizens in Chemnitz cope with the everyday obstacles, both small and large, that people encounter when living outside their home country. The project focuses on two issues: firstly, providing qualified advice on integration and social benefits, and secondly, promoting integration through awareness-raising events, leisure activities and local excursions.

The project is intended to benefit all EU citizens living in Chemnitz and the surrounding area. The association attaches particular importance to providing advice on a case-by-case basis, so as to assure people have security and are given the best possible support. Those who use this service will educate themselves and thus strengthen both their legal position and their self-reliance.

Advice is always available in German, English, Bulgarian and Polish. Advice sessions can be arranged with interpretation by appointment and as required.

Programme for Eurocities Annual Conference 2021 in Leipzig

Leipzig’s Lord Mayor Burkhard Jung will welcome guests at the Monument to the Battle of the Nations on the evening of 3 November. Award-winning journalist Ali Aslan will talk the guests through the programme the following day. Officials and experts from a range of institutions will discuss sustainable economic recovery, climate change and a just transition (to climate neutrality) with the audience. On the final day, the Vice-President of the European Commission and the Vice-President of the European Parliament will speak about the future of Europe and European values.

Twin city of Tampere hosts the Eurocities Culture Forum

After Eurocities member cities exchanged views last year on challenges in general and for the cultural scene in particular, the Culture Forum on 1 October 2021 looked at how to recover culturally and economically from the impact of the pandemic. City representatives from Norway, Sweden, Italy, the United Kingdom, Finland, the Czech Republic and Germany provided successive snapshots of the situation in their communities.

Mayor Ralph Burghart gave the perspective of the city of Chemnitz. He headed up the Department for Education, Youth, Social Affairs, Culture and Sport until March this year, and is now responsible for the first department (equivalent to the state Cabinet Office), including finance.

Eurocities sees the link between culture and health due to the fact that culture, and its role in keeping people busy, inspired and mentally healthy, has proved once again its accuracy during the coronavirus crisis. Cities can fully benefit from the impacts of culture in increasing the quality of life of cities’ inhabitants and culture will play a major role in the recovery challenges ahead.

How does your municipality support the cultural sector? How can Eurocities help? What can the EU contribute? The Culture Forum is the perfect platform to answer these questions and have general discussion.

Discussions between Mayor Sven Schulze and EU Commissioner

Mayor Sven Schulze at the video conference with his counterparts and the EU Commissioner

A video conference with counterparts from Birmingham, Florence, Chemnitz’s twin city of Tampere, and EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, who is responsible for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, enabled more in-depth discussion on the cultural recovery addressed by the Culture Forum three days previously. Together with Eurocities and the municipalities, the Commission wants to help one of the sectors that has been hardest hit by the pandemic get back on track.

Smart durch EUropa (“The Smart Way through EUrope”) – a new pocketbook for children

The new publication is in the form of a smartphone. Cover: Representation in Germany – Bonn (Euro-pean Commission)

The Regional Representation of the European Commission in Bonn has designed a pocketbook for children aged eight to 13 (available in German language). The book is intended to provide a playful but informative introduction to the complex subject of Europe and the EU. First and foremost, it aims to bring to life the special features of other EU Member States and show what it is like to live there. Diversity is one of the EU’s great strengths. From currencies to flags, languages, traditional dishes and famous sights, Europe has a lot to offer. The Representation of the European Commission in Germany is making 100,000 copies of the pocketbook available free of charge, whether for learning and fun at home or as class sets for teachers and schools.

Order here:


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