Europe in the World
The coronavirus pandemic overshadowed the year 2021, making it very difficult for young adults to meet their peers from other parts of Europe, Turkey, or China. Though we were able to establish new and innovative online formats and to lower our carbon emissions because travel was no longer possible, there can be no substitute for face-to-face encounters and experiences between young people.
In its report “Freedom in the World 2022”, US think tank Freedom House described how authoritarian rule is gaining in power worldwide. Admittedly, Europe still has the best track record in this respect. In Slovenia, Hungary, Poland, and Turkey, however, the work of non-governmental organizations is being obstructed, the rights of LGBTQ+ people are being limited and press freedom is being curtailed. We will continue to use our funding to empower and strengthen those individuals and institutions who stand up for a liberal, diverse, and democratic society that is based on civil society forces.
Stiftung Mercator has dedicated itself in particular to protecting the rule of law in Europe. We support theoreticians and practitioners who are committed to this principle as the basis for our coexistence in the EU. Many of them find themselves under considerable pressure. Being able to engage in exchange with one another helps them to draw up strategies, to remain resilient and to continue their important and necessary work to promote Europe’s rule of law. At the same time, we also believe it is important to keep an eye on the EU’s foreign relations. This is why we developed practical proposals in 2021 that will allow us to better understand our relations with Turkey and China and to shape them in readiness for the future, in the spirit of European values.