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New initiative ‘Hearts and Minds for Europe’ aims to strengthen European democracy


23 Apr 2014 11:00


Committee of the Regions, room 51, Jacques Delors building
Rue Belliard 99-102
1040  Brussels


EU Elections 2014
EU Priorities 2020

Event Location


Event Description

You are cordially invited to attend the official launch of the 'Hearts and Minds for Europe' website. The event will take place on 23 April 2014 at 1.00 pm at the Committee of the Regions, room 51, Jacques Delors building, Rue Belliard 99-102, 1040 Brussels.

The presentation of the website will be followed by a short reception.

RSVP by sending an e-mail to


New initiative ‘Hearts and Minds for Europe’ aims to strengthen European democracy

Europeans active in Brussels speak about their daily work for Europe in a new on-line initiative to encourage citizens to vote in the European elections

Brussels, 22 April 2014 – In light of the European Parliament elections on 22-25 May 2014, a new on-line initiative has been launched in cooperation with the Bertelsmann Stiftung to help raise citizens' awareness of what people working with the EU institutions are doing. ‘Hearts and Minds for Europe’ gives a voice to 35 people in a wide variety of jobs in Brussels, explaining what the European integration process means to them. Some of them also invited a friend back home in their Member State to share their views on Europe. They all encourage citizens to take part in the European elections and to strengthen European democracy.

In participating in the initiative, the Bertelsmann Stiftung wants to contribute to better communication on Europe”, said Thomas Fischer, Executive Director of the Brussels Office of the German think tank. “The wide-spread myth of Brussels as a the place where power-hungry technocrats are secretly building an EU monster bureaucracy which neglects citizens and constantly favours big business and the financial lobby must be challenged. Europe is a democratic system where the directly elected European Parliament decides together with the EU member states on EU legislation. The more citizens participate in the European elections on 22-25 May, the more democratic Europe will be", underlined Fischer.

“Hearts and Minds for Europe gives a flavour of what it really means to work at the heart of EU democracy,” stated Maroą ©efčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission who himself was interviewed for the project. “The EU often seems out of touch with the citizens’ lives, but these interviews show that people working with and for Europe are citizens themselves, with their own hopes and fears. I hope that the project encourages people to speak up for Europe all over the continent and to vote for the European Parliament in May.”

The people interviewed in the project stand up for values like peace, democracy, solidarity, responsibility, justice and mutual respect which form the basis of the European integration process. They explain why the European Union is important for each and every citizen. "The interviews show not only the diversity of Europe, but they also show why there is no real viable alternative to the European integration progress", said Christian Gsodam from the EU Committee of the Regions, one of the initiators of the project. "The values that the European Union cherishes can only be defended if we stand united and if we strengthen European democracy."

Information on copyright

All material on the 'Hearts and Minds for Europe' website can be used and redistributed free of charge on the condition that the original source is mentioned. The profiles on the website cover all 28 EU nationalities. Videos are available in English and French, most of them being subtitled if the native language of the interview is different. Written interviews are published in English/French and in most cases in the interviewee's native language. Short summaries are also available in German, French, and English.


Jürgen Noack
Communications & Outreach Manager
Brussels Office

Bertelsmann Stiftung
Résidence Palace | Rue de la Loi 155 | 1040 Brussels | Belgium
Phone: +32 2 233 38 95 | Fax: +32 2 280 32 21 | Mobile: +32 470 870 366
E-Mail: | |


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