European Exit Strategy Back

European Exit Strategy

In a series of interviews we portray our Culture of Solidarity Fund grantees. The grantee featured here successfully applied to round 4: Culture of Solidarity in times of an infodemic.

The Project for Democratic Union (PDU) is a think-tank promoting the political integration of Europe. To this end, PDU hosts regular high-level events to introduce and keep current aspects of future European integration and democracy among policymakers, cultural and academic leaders, and European business. Within the scope of the Culture of Solidarity Fund, PDU is leading the proposal titled ‘European exit strategy from private platforms to common digital space’ with the help of partners Public Spaces, Netwerk Democratie and the Citizen Toolbox for Digital Empowerment.

‘Much is known about the problems with Europe’s current digital public sphere,’ PDU tells us in our interview with them, ‘which is dominated by a few tech giants, mostly operated from the US and driven by profits. They offer their services “for free”, or rather in exchange for our private data and attention span. They can draw on huge budgets to lobby for their interests towards European policymakers. This status quo has many negative side effects for individuals and society and ultimately poses a threat to democracy. Potential solutions are still unclear. What would a European alternative look like? What should Europe and specifically the EU do to support the creation of alternatives?’

The project will bring together a unique coalition of experts on digital rights, human rights, disinformation, open-source, public broadcasting, and European policy, to propose concrete alternatives and creative solutions in creating an alternative public digital space. 50+ participants, including members of tech initiatives, freedom of speech activists, public sector actors and academics, will draft a policy roadmap with clear recommendations to be presented to policymakers in the European Parliament, the Council and Commission. The goal is to steer the direction of the EU towards a more ethical and values-based digital space that enables deliberation and collective democratic decision-making.

The project will consist of four digital sessions building up to a physical hackathon in Brussels. The past two sessions were about regulation and alternative business models respectively. An upcoming session on the 27th of April will investigate alternative ways of financing a new European digital space. The insights gathered during these discussions will comprise the building blocks for the hackathon, which will take place in June.

PDU aims to create a lasting infrastructure and regular meetings that hold together diverse stakeholders, with outreach to policymakers and elected officials becoming a continual occurrence. It is anticipated that activities under the project European Exit Strategy will extend into 2023.

Other projects that PDU is organising include: ‘The Cambridge Roundtable on European Order’, a three-day event of applied history; and ‘The European Federalist Papers’, the production of a collection of essays, written by Europe’s leading thinkers, proposing answers to the question “Where do we want to end up?” regarding Europe’s future. Previous events hosted by the PDU have included participants such as Cristopher Clark, Joschka Fischer, Ulrike Guerot, Sylvie Berman, Norbert Röttgen, Niall Ferguson, David Petraeus, Elisabeth Braw, and John Peet.

Granted: 28.000 euros