THE EUROPEAN BALCONY PROJECT: PROCLAIMING THE EUROPEAN REPUBLIC! Idea & Concept ULRIKE GUÉROT / ROBERT MENASSE / MILO RAU
In the anniversary and commemoration year 2018, we want to look into a common European future with the famous phrase of Ernest Renan, that „nation is what has a common future“ – we want to see: A new Europe without nations, without borders – a citizen-centered, decentralized Europe. The idea of the common good – the res publica – serves as the guiding principle of our future European order, a European republic. The idea of this long overdue republic is the building block of our artistic-political European Balcony Project.
In the run-up to the next European Parliament elections in May 2019, we want to organize a European-wide discussion weekend on European democracy. We want to draw on the notion of the Republic as the oldest form of political organization of citizens and apply this to Europe.
We want to embed the one European market and the one European currency into a single European democracy, as a currency is already a social contract. We want to invite the countries still outside of the currency union to join it soon, to close the East-West divide. At a time when Europe is struggling to find new ways of shaping its transnational democracy and where European citizens request new forms of political participation, the “European
Balcony Project” wants to produce a citizens‘ manifesto on the future of Europe.
In remembrance of the proclamation of various Republics and the end of WWI, we want to proclaim the European Republic as symbol of our common European future. Our central claim is that citizens who embark in a political project together must be equal before the law. Citizens must be equal in voting, in taxes and in social access, if we want to build a political entity in Europe together. The proclamation of the European Republic is a symbolic act to connect to the dramatic dates that changed European history and are inherently linked – 11th November 1918, 9th November 1938 and 9th November 1989. The idea is to free Europe from its past and to liberate it for a common future – by calling for the principle of general political equality for all European citizens regardless of their nationalities.
From balconies in theatres all over Europe, artists and citizens will proclaim the European Republic and read the manifesto, written by Ulrike Guérot, Robert Menasse and Milo Rau, and pave the way for the emancipatory claim of citizens’ equality beyond the nation state! The proclamation of the European Republic will be on 10th of November at the same time throughout Europe, in big and small towns, capitals and regions, to decentralize the European idea. The project includes events, talks, panels and artistic interventions from 9th to 11th of November 2018 in many European theatres, organizing citizens debates to frame and accompany the proclamation of the European Republic.
This intervention will empower the European citizens and set out for their normative unity. With this, we want to accomplish Europe’s old mantra, that Europe is “unity in diversity”. The „European Republic“ is only the starting point for achieving a state of affairs that is basically the same as the global realization of the first sentence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1789, that „all human beings are born free and equal in their rights“. This is Europe’s cultural and ideological heritage and it is therefore Europe’s political task to make this a reality in the 21st century.
ULRIKE GUÉROT was appointed University Professor for European Policy and Democracy Research at Danube University Krems in April 2016 and heads the Department of European Politics and Democracy Research. She is also the founder of the European Democracy Lab (Berlin). Her book Why Europe must become a Republic. A Political Utopia was published by Dietz in 2016.
ROBERT MENASSE is a novelist and political-journalistic essayist. Since his Frankfurt Poetry Lectures The Destruction of the World as Will and Vision, he deals with European institutions and continues the idea of a Europe of Regions in his book Der Europäische Landbote, Die Wut der Bürger und der Friede Europas oder Warum die geschenkte Demokratie einer erkämpften weichen muss (2012). He has recently received the German Book Prize for his novel The Capital.
MILO RAU is a writer and theatre director of the Belgium theatre NTGent. With his multipart work The Europe Trilogy and the multi-day spectacles The Moscow Trials and The Zurich Trials or City of Change and not least with Congo Tribunal he invented a new theatrical format.