Vienna, 22 January 2014 Press release

New Ideas for Europe

Austrian artists and intellectuals discussed a new leitmotiv for Europe with young people

Vienna, 22 December 2014 – Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz welcomes the initiative "A New Narrative for Europe" of EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso: "The 20th century was characterised mainly by national differences, it was more about "against" than "with" each other. It is thanks to the European Union that we were able to overcome this thinking in opposites. Peaceful coexistence in the Union has become a matter of course. However, the European project must be more than a mere peace project and an economic area with a monetary union. We need creative approaches and innovative ideas at the beginning of this 21st century to bring Europe closer to the people." The initiative launched by the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso is an important step, says Kurz, and Austria's contribution to the initiative is a valuable input to creating a Europe of the citizens, a Europe with which they can identify.

The New Narrative initiative aims to engage the people of Europe, but above all artists, scientists and intellectuals in a public dialogue to cast the success story of Europe in a new "version 2.0", targeted mainly at the young generation. The topic is not only the original key note of Europe as a "community of peace" but the future of the Union.

Richard Kühnel,Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Austria, says that "2014 is a year of great symbolic importance for Europe and also a year to set the pace for the future. New visions, new ideas, a new narrative are to help us to build bridges to the people – also on an emotional level."

On 21 January, Fabian Eder, film maker and author, actress Katharina Stemberger, Miguel Herz-Kestranek, actor and author, Julya Rabinowich, writer and painter and Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, Director of the Vienna Museum of Applied Arts, gathered at the MuseumsQuartier in Vienna for a lively discussion with a large and mostly young audience debating their visions and how a unified Europe can become a reality within society and in terms of culture.

The outcome of the discussions is summarised in an Austrian Position Paper and will be submitted as Austria's contribution to the "New Narrative for Europe" initiative to President of the Commission José Manuel Barroso and included in the ongoing discussions on pan-European level.

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