Press Release | Friends of Europe unveils plan for a Renewed Social Contract on Europe Day

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9 May, Brussels – Recognising the shift in economics, politics and social realities, Friends of Europe proposes a renewal of the social contract as we know it. Today, on Europe Day, the Brussels-based think tank unveiled the rationale for their decade-long initiative towards a Renewed Social Contract for Europe by 2030.

“A Renewed Social Contract,” commented Friends of Europe COO, Dharmendra Kanani, “can act as the policy lever and methodology for managing crises; it can also provide the social glue to build trust amongst citizens, governments and the private sector by redefining their roles, responsibilities and expectations in contributing to a good society.”

The social contract is a tacit pact between a society’s members that sets out common values and what’s expected of each other. In Friends of Europe’s infographic published today, it is set out how and when the think tank will achieve the Renewed Social Contract.

In the 20th century, wars and devastation birthed new government structures based on welfare and social protection. Today, over 70 years after the Schuman Declaration was signed, new challenges have emerged and created a more fragile Europe. The upcoming European Parliament elections will test the Union’s resilience.

“To protect against future risks, we must revive the connection between citizens and the EU,” Kanani said. “We need a Renewed Social Contract to challenge our traditional relationship with capital and meet climate targets. This requires fairer distributions of power and wealth, and active participation from all sectors. Let’s create an inclusive, sustainable and forward-thinking Europe.”

“The Renewed Social Contract needs governance, policies and actions that boost power-sharing, accountability, transparency and trust among everyone,” Kanani continued. “It’s the sole path to fair and inclusive change, peace, security and social progress in Europe, so we can keep up with the world and look after our 21st-century citizens.”

Friends of Europe will establish the Renewed Social Contract by facilitating policy discussions, citizen engagements and a broad coalition, which will include Friends of Europe’s Board of Trustees, European Young Leaders (EYL40), private sector partners, members, citizens networks, and other experts and knowledge partners.

As a facilitator and convener, Friends of Europe will bring together Europe’s best and brightest from across sectors, demographics and ideological lines to generate innovative ideas and solutions.

Its citizen engagement platform, Debating Europe, will engage European citizens through a series of focus groups on high-priority issues, including the economy and cost-of-living crisis, Europe’s role in the world and strategic autonomy, democracy and the rule of law, and the European Green Deal. The data collected from the focus groups will inform and test the work of Friends of Europe.

Debating Europe has also kickstarted its own area of expertise at Friends of Europe via the “Democracy” programme to assist with this implementation. “Liberal democracies are struggling to effectively manage emergent global challenges such as climate change and the advent of AI,” the platform says. “The decision-making tools they have inherited from the 19th or 20th century are no longer sufficient to govern today’s society, resulting in a lack of trust in policymakers and institutions, and a very real sense of alienation amongst citizens from the democratic process. This in turn is driving greater levels of polarisation leading to a lack of trust in each other.”

Friends of Europe is an independent think tank, seeking real solutions by transforming mindsets through the confrontation of ideas, breaking down silos between politicians, businesses and civil society.

 

NOTES TO THE EDITOR:

1) Towards a Renewed Social Contract for Europe infographic PDF.

2) Social Media Toolkit containing key polling data gathered online.

3) As part of its ambition and commitment to the overarching vision of the Renewed Social Contract and its purpose, Friends of Europe will craft ten policy choices through various consultation exercises. Our interventions will comprise reflections on worries and insecurities around money, the economy, climate change, digitalisation and freedom from harm. Given that the Renewed Social Contract will ultimately pivot the relationships between the public, private and civil society sectors, both out of necessity and to ensure relevance and credibility of these choices, Friends of Europe will source the ten policy choices from a multistakeholder and multidisciplinary framework based on:

  • Policy discussions: Friends of Europe will act as a facilitator and convenor to bring together Europe’s best and brightest from across the private, public and civil society sectors, demographics and ideological lines. We will ensure every one of our activities is designed with the Renewed Social Contract in mind and that our contributors come up with innovative ideas and solutions.
  • Citizen engagements by Debating Europe: Friends of Europe’s citizen engagement platform, Debating Europe, will engage European citizens through a series of focus groups on issues of high importance to Europe: the economy and cost-of-living crisis; Europe’s role in the world and strategic autonomy; democracy and the rule of law; and the European Green Deal. Data from the focus groups will inform and test the work of Friends of Europe.
  • A broad coalition on the Renewed Social Contract: this includes Friends of Europe’s Board of Trustees, European Young Leaders (EYL40), private sector partners, members, citizens networks, and other experts and knowledge partners.

In addition to annual multisectoral and multistakeholder consultations, Friends of Europe will set up a series of working groups on the various policy areas identified in the ‘10 policy choices for a Renewed Social Contract for Europe’ report. These groups, set up for the 2024-29 period, will provide Friends of Europe with strategic guidance and foresight.

 

WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Website            friendsofeurope.org

Twitter              Follow us @FriendsofEurope & @debatingeurope

Facebook         Like us at Friends of Europe & Debating Europe

Instagram         Follow us @friendsofeurope

LinkedIn            Follow us on LinkedIn

#RenewedSocialContract #FoEDebate 

 

For more information or interviews please contact us.

Catarina Vila Nova | Press & Communications Officer  | Friends of Europe

catarina.vilanova@friendsofeurope.org

#RenewedSocialContract #FoEDebate 

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