European House, a civil society organisation was among the first ones in Hungary to promote the European idea and the country’s EU membership. It strongly believes that the future of Hungary is inextricably linked to Europe and the current financial, economic and social crisis with its severe symptoms: democratic deficit, austerity measures, scarce institutional responses, raising populism and extremism only confirm our belief in and commitment to Europe and its commonly shared values.
In this complex process European House has the following guiding principles:
- development a sense of European identity based on shared values of human rights, democracy, citizens participation, solidarity and the rule of law;
- reduction of the significant gap between the EU institutions and the citizens; reflection on the cost of non-Europe;
- encouragement of citizens and their organisations to influence and monitor the EU decision-making processes thereby increasing their commitment and ownership feeling;
- demonstration of impact of EU-level policy making on the daily life of citizens;
- promotion the idea of active and democratic European citizenship;
- creation of the legal basis for an open, transparent, regular and inclusive civil dialogue on European level;
- enhancement of tolerance and mutual understanding among European citizens, respecting and promoting cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue.
The above relevant competences of European House can be identified, illustrated and underlined by the following areas of activities:
Meeting and discussion place: we are a well-known and recognised open forum both in Hungary and abroad where various views and approaches on Europe, on its – mainly citizens-related – developments can freely and unbiasedly discussed in a relaxed atmosphere and in a creative spirit. This attitude is especially needed when issues as the refugee crisis or the consequences of Brexit are debated.
- Our Europe – Our Debate – Our Contribution project
- Organisation of Regional Stakeholders Forums on the future of Europe
- National forums on legislation issues related to the Hungarian nonprofit sector
- hosting Civiliada, the annual exhibition and conference of the Hungarian nonprofit sector with special emphasis on European issues
The human face of the EU institutions: this element introduces first of all the Hungarian EP representatives; they and their activities have to be explained to ordinary citizens who frequently feel underinformed therefore frustrated when it comes to EU-level policy-making. The European Citizens Initiative (ECI) introduced by the Lisbon Treaty until know unfortunately failed to mobilise and bring the citizens closer to the institutions.
- Publication of the “Meet your MEP” booklet
- Coordinating “The European Parliament Minute by Minute – A Hungarian Transparency Initiative” project
- running the “Civil Yes for Europe! awareness raising campaign prior the referendum on Hungary’s EU membership
- Building Bridges of Democracy project
The art of channelling citizens’ views: we have the knowledge and experience how to approach and ask citizens on issues related closely to their daily lives and we are not afraid of going out to the street. In this excercise the close interconnectedness of domestic and EU-level issues can be demonstrated. We are regular contributors to public consultations of the European Commission.
- Civil Trust Building project
- Application Successful project
- Coordination of the Hungarian flagship project during the EYV2011
- Geocaching exercise
Advice service: EU legislation can easily be viewed as a labyrinth with a “no way out” sign; citizens who are more and more confronted with the practical consequences of EU policies; they need advice on issues like free movement, working or studying abroad or recognition of diplomas in the EU. On these and related issues we offer a free service to citizens.
- free advice service on EU issues
- publication of “Europe is me” series
- training sessions on EU advocacy, policy-making and writing EU applications
- publication of Civil Europe-Civil Hungary newsletter
- running of the www.eucivil.hu webpage
Forums with an European dimension: European House is the initiator and organiser of Civiliáda, the annual exhibition, conference and meeting face of Hungarian civil society. This special arrangement addresses topical issues of European integration from a citizens’ perspective. This flagship civil society event focused on such issues as the European Citizens Initiative and the evolving concept of European citizenship. European House is an active member of several European civil alliances and networks including the European Civic Forum, European Citizens Action Service (ECAS), Danubiana Network.
Platform creation: our intention and policy is to provide a flexible organisational framework for those civil society organisations who are interested in EU matters and ready to convey messages to their local environment (multiplicatory effect). We have initiated the setting up of the Hungarian Platform for European Integration and Civil Dialogue in 2011 and this open network today has more than 60 CSO members. In addition to its regular information sessions and debates this formation was recognised as the National Alliance for the European Year of Citizens (2013).
Education and training: It is our firm belief the modern societies facing new challenges of the 21st century must be based on knowledge. It can not be achieved if it is confined to the formel education process. Therefore we organise various courses, sessions and trainings with life-long learning character on such issues as language learning, IT, public speaking, soft skills or basic financial management.
Our special traget groups are the early school-leavers, the marginalised or disadvantaged. We support and benefit from the efforts of the educational authorities of the EU member states aiming at harmonising and streamlining their activities. We stand for the extention of the Erasmus+ programme to secondary school students.