Kick-off events of the project „TruLies: The Truth about Lies on Europe“

Michael Roth

On Monday, 16 November 2015, the official launch of the project “TruLies: The Truth about Lies on Europe” which is conducted by the Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP) and the Progressive Zentrum, and funded by the Stiftung Mercator, took place in Berlin. In particular with regard to the growing euroscep­ticism and populism in Germany, the project aims to analyze, clarify, and provide objective evidence for the debate about European politics in Germany. After a workshop with experts in the afternoon, the launch was rounded off by a public evening event with a keynote speech by the Minister of State for Europe at the Federal Foreign Office, Michael Roth, MP.

During the intro­ductory workshop on “Causes and effects of Populism and Euroscep­ticism in Germany”, Julia Klein, research associate at the IEP and project fellow, Prof Dr. Bernd Henningsen, honorary professor at Humboldt University Berlin, Dr. Timo Lochocki of the the German Marshall Fund of the United States and Isabel Hoffmann from the Bertelsmann Foundation and other experts discussed different concepts of euroscep­ticism as well as the continuum between enthu­si­astic support of the European Union on the one hand and different levels of rejection on the other. The experts pointed out that a differ­en­ti­ation between populist euroscep­ticism and constructive criticism is all the more crucial as euroscep­ticism itself does not neces­sarily have to be of destructive nature. Further subjects of debate were, among others, the impact of identity and liberty of expression, public opinion about the EU as well as media pluralism. The workshop was led by Dr. Funda Tekin, senior researcher at IEP and project manager of “TruLies”.

After­wards, Michael Roth, patron of “TruLies” and Minister of State for Europe at the Federal Foreign Office, MP, then opened the evening event with a keynote speech on “Europe in rough times – why attitude and conviction matter more than ever in current times”. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris, Roth named populism and euroscep­ticism as current challenges for Germany and Europe. He encouraged the audience to stand and work together in providing support to the European project. Populist and eurosceptic arguments and possible solutions were then discussed by Dr. Funda Tekin, project manager of “TruLies”, Clara Herrmann, member of the Berlin parliament, Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen, Dr. Florian Hartleb, expert on populism, as well as by journalist Johanna Maria Knothe and moderator Leslie Nachmann. The panel identified simplistic and metaphorical answers to current challenges by populists and a fading permissive consensus about the EU as driving forces for populism and euroscep­ticism. Therefore, the experts called for a more social and inclusive European Union and more awareness for common European strategies among the EU member states. The following open discussion with the public under­lined the impor­tance of a neutral debate and the need for verifi­cation of preju­dices about the European Union, especially in the context of the current migration crisis.

Please find further infor­mation about the project online: www.trulies-europe.de.

The project is kindly supported by the Stiftung Mercator.


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