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Communicating European citizenship without mentioning it

Hanneke de Bode, Filippo Addarii, Ben Rattenbury

The proposed paper describes the development of a European network of civil society leaders, Euclid Network, launched to help civil society cross national borders to benefit from knowledge-sharing and joint initiatives that an integrated Europe offers and requires. The authors argue that the solution to reconnecting citizens to the European Union lies in enabling citizens to live as Europeans taking advantage of all the benefits of integration, connecting with fellow citizens and participating in the European project. Civil society leaders are dormant advocates for the EU, interested in the European project but discouraged by the perception that it is just about politics and institutions; citizens are not in its remit and their views are ignored. A clique within civil society has thrived in this context: Brussels-based civil society platforms have monopolized the dialogue between European institutions and citizens flourishing with minimal effort, facilitated by the EU. Inspired by the success of the Erasmus programme and partially funded by the EC, Euclid Network has developed a new methodology connecting citizens - specifically civil society leaders - through twinning programmes facilitating peer-learning and cross-border partnerships. Such engagement coupled with concrete personal benefits has become the best advertisement for the EU and a gateway for European integration.

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