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Shining eyes at the European Cultural Parliament

By Florian Mueck • Dec 15th, 2009 • Category: European Thinkers, The Festival Embassy, Top News

Founded in 2001 by Karl-Erik Norrman from Sweden, the European Cultural Parliamant (ECP) is a platform of communication and exchange for outstanding artists and other cultural personalities from all parts of the continent.

To date, more than 170 personalities from Europe’s cultural scene have been nominated members of the ECP.

This year’s annual meeting was held in Gothenburg on December 12 and 13. Participants from Georgia to Ireland, from Portugal to Latvia attended the truly enlightening program - among them the renowned Slovenian speaker and violinist Miha Pogacnik, the Spanish writer Laura Freixas or the Ukrainian prose writer Juriy Andrykhoviych.

I was kindly invited to participate by Karl-Erik and had the opportunity to bring the movement to the European Cultural Parliament as a guest speaker. Steve Austen from the initiative “A Soul for Europe” and many other personalities from the European cultural scene couldn’t hide their shining eyes…

After the presentation many approached me, showed their deep interest and offered their support. It was a great feeling to receive such a significant affirmation that we are doing the right thing.

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Here’s a write-up of the presentation for you:

“Greek dance, Tour de France, Appenzeller, football fans,
Colossus of Rhodes and magic dragon Amsterdam,
Swiss watches, beer bar, Döner Kebab, sauna,
Flamenco, help for Africa, Yves Saint Laurent the mega star,
Croatian islands, Mozart, Spring of Prague, German cars,
BB lips, Pommes Frites, Norwegian fjord, and Cold Play hits,
Scottish kilt, oil rigs, the Irish and Saint Patrick’s,
French wine, Spanish wine, Italian wine, Neuschwanstein…

Isn’t Europe exciting?

Isn’t Europe fantastic?

Isn’t Europe a great place to live and work?

I love to be European [showing the I-love-Europe-T from our friends MAXHENKELL EUROPE] and I know that YOU love Europe! Otherwise you wouldn’t be member of this institution!

But - why is it then that so many out there are not really enthusiastic about Europe?

I’ve been playing football since I was eight. I’ve always been passionate about football, and personally, I always compare Europe with a football game…

We all play on the same field. You might call it a political field. You might call it a geographical field. You might call it a cultural field. But you cannot deny the fact that we are all playing on the same field. On this field I can move freely, wherever I want to [waving my German passport]. With one passport I can go anywhere. This is great!

We also wear the same jersey… [showing a 5-EURO bill]

We have the same rules. A free kick in Portugal is a free kick in Poland.

But - why is it then that a 10 meter pass from the Italian midfielder doesn’t reach the Latvian striker. Why can’t an Irish defender pass the ball five meters to the Turkish midfielder?

I will tell you why… They do not know each other!

I once played in a team where everyone knew each other. We always won. This team was called ERASMUS.

Yes, I am a former Erasmus student.

I remember the first party on our rooftop in the Bohemian Raval of Barcelona. I walked up the scruffy stairway, opened the door, and there they were: 100 Europeans from 25 countries. Belgians and Bavarians arguing about who makes the better beer, an Italian guy kissing a Swedish girl, everybody laughing about the Germans, but together, and everybody melting into this fantastic spirit of European togetherness…

Those two million Erasmus students since 1987, you don’t have to tell them anything about a soul for Europe. We are the soul!

In those Erasmus days the roots for our project, which I am presenting here today, were laid. In October 2006 the idea was born to create a super communication platform to meet Europeans on a non-political level. A people-to-people celebration attracting people from all over Europe. Like Erasmus for all! Because only if we get together, we can feel European. In October 2006 the idea was born to create The Festival, One Week, One Europe! In a week of July 2012 more than 1,000,000 people from all over Europe will get together in Berlin and bring the European idea to life!

What makes The Festival unique? We do not carry the European idea to the people and celebrate 50 years of Roman Treaties in Berlin with Berliners. We turn it upside down. People from all over the place come together and - through one platform, The Festival - experience the European idea together. Bottom-up always beats top-down.

For a long time we thought about how to attract those masses. In the end we did not go for polictics, neither religion, nor history, nor nationalities. No, we tear down all those walls!

We connect people through their personal interests: art, cuisine, fashion, film, music & sports. The Festival is all about lifestyle, The Festival is all about culture. That is why Karl-Erik was so kind to invite me to Gothenburg.

After all I’ve told you about The Festival, you could still believe that we are a bunch of nut cases. But after three years of moving this movement not only a Dutch company called Fatboy wants to cooperate with us, but also opinion leaders like Latvia’s number one band Brainstorm, the European Cultural Parliament, high-ranking members of the EP, the Erasmus Student Network, and fans on Facebook - it is a long list!

I would like to invite you today to participate. Just like the upcoming musician from South London, Clement Marfo, we are looking for cultural talent out there in the fields of art, cuisine, fashion, film, music and sports.

Join the movement! Join the movement! Join the movement!”

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Florian Mueck is European, initiator and co-founder of The Festival: "Passion for Europe maybe does not exist in the media. But it does exist in many hearts of many people."
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