Citizens’ movement “Pulse of Europe”
The pro-Europeans are continuing
The organizers of the rallies have advise themselves: Pulse of Europe should be bigger and at the same time keep distance to parties.
BERLIN taz | “A French president who confesses to the EU”, the speaker at the Pulse-of-Europe rally wants to be on Sunday at the Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin. He mentions the names of the right and left candidates Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the demonstrators boosted.
In the other cities, where European citizens went to the streets in the afternoon, France was the focus. And even after the second round of presidential elections on 7th May, Pulse of Europe (PoE) will continue to demonstrate. This is what the organizers decided at their strategic meeting the day before in Frankfurt. They also want to spread the citizens’ movement in other countries of the EU.
The sundials have taken place in more than 100 cities. Every week, some of them come, the focus is in Germany. There are events in 15 other countries, including France, the UK, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and the Ukraine.
When the rallies began in Frankfurt in January, they wanted to influence the forthcoming elections in the Netherlands and France. But then the idea spread quickly. Therefore, the movement is now to be made something bigger.
“So far we are not a pan-European movement,” said Alexander Knigge, one of the Berlin organizers. This is to change. Representatives from Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Austria were present at the meeting in Frankfurt. The common language was German. To a large extent, the purpose of the meeting was to personally get to know the actors from different cities.
Distance to the parties
Meanwhile, an office with two paid employees has been set up in Frankfurt. The entire funding, including the rallies, still stem from “single donations”. Parties and other political interests are to be kept out of the way in order to become a prey to non-established organizations. Because the groups in the cities do not want to be overwhelmed, the rallies are not to be held every week from the end of May or the beginning of June, but only on every first Sunday of the month.
“A substantive focus would be detrimental,” says organizer Alexander Knigge
Concrete demands were not decided at the meeting. So far, PoE is based on a broad consensus to defend the unity of Europe against right-wing parties and new nationalism. It is agreed to advocate a democratic, equitable and free Europe, which guarantees human rights.
“For a focus on content, it is too early,” Knigge reports, “it would also be harmful. As a movement, we should not work for individual, specific goals. “The organizers believe that the meetings are still too young to call upon concrete demands. They are afraid that people will stay away, who are now demonstrating. In addition, one wants to remain flexible in order to react to current developments.
Consensus was also evident at the meeting in Frankfurt, that Pulse of Europe should in no way be a party. “We are a citizens’ movement – and remain one,” said Knigge. Among other things, the political scientist Ulrike Guérot recommended PoE to formulate concrete demands. If this were not done, the impetus of the new movement would soon diminish.