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Culture of Solidarity Fund Democracy Resilience edition announces initiatives Back

Culture of Solidarity Fund Democracy Resilience edition announces initiatives

29 May 2024

The latest edition of the Culture of Solidarity Fund supports European transnational initiatives that mobilise voters for the 2024 European Parliament elections. This edition has been developed in collaboration with Evens Foundation, Allianz Foundation & partners. It is the 11th edition of the Culture of Solidarity Fund. The projects, initiatives and campaigns have been granted or supported in two rounds.

Democracy Resilience edition 2024

2024 is an exceptional year in modern global history: over 40% of the world’s population will elect new parliaments and leaders, reshaping geopolitical landscapes. European democracies and the culture of open and transnational public debate is being put through a serious test. There is an urgent need to enhance existing democracy and cultural solidarity initiatives with rapid and flexible funding. 

 The results of the recent elections in Poland brought along some much-needed optimism, only to be tempered by the dramatic win of Geert Wilders’ anti-EU, anti-Islam Freedom Party causing shockwaves of confusion and concern across Europe. There is a new wave of aspiring extremist leaders already topping or steadily climbing up in the polls in France, Italy, Germany, Portugal Slovakia, Hungary and Austria. As the European parliamentary elections are approaching, the stakes are high for Europe: this is no time for business as usual. Extremism and populism are a direct challenge to European integration and must serve as a call for action for democratic forces to come together and make a compelling case for a desirable and democratic European future. Strengthening a culture of solidarity among Europeans will be an essential element in counteracting polarisation and growing feelings of being left behind. 

 The Culture of Solidarity Fund is a rapid response mechanism initiated by ECF in 2020. It provides urgent European initiatives with flexible access to co-financing and has been working with pooled funds from more than 20 philanthropic and public partners.  Solidarity among European citizens, local communities, and governments is increasingly challenged, both within our societies and due to sharpening global conflicts in Europe and its neighbourhood. Cultural sentiments that favour exclusion and polarisation over diversity, peaceful collaboration, and finding consensus through democratic debate are currently on the rise. We have been down this path before, we know where it can lead. The upcoming elections will determine whether our societies will be resilient enough to sustain and reinforce a European culture of solidarity or if the forces of division and violent confrontation will further grow. 

 Everything is to play for in the next 90 days. A handful of seats could propel extremist parties into 3rd place. This would mean powerful posts for their representatives and powerful coalition options to pursue their aims. And make no mistake, this is not ‘democracy’ as normal. The democratic norms we have been working towards for nearly 80 years are at stake.  

 Throughout Europe, there are creative initiatives with a strong track record in defending democratic inclusion and fostering public engagement at local, regional, national, and European levels. Many of them have been active on the ground for a long time and have substantially expanded their efforts ahead of the European elections. However, they require further support to increase their reach and impact in a year that will test the resilience of European democracies. We need to act swiftly. In collaboration with the Allianz Foundation, the Evens Foundation, and in coordination with the Philea Democracy Network, the Fund has pro-actively scouted a diverse group of initiatives with a proven track record in strengthening solidarity and democratic resilience in Europe.  

As of March 2024, this special Democracy Resilience Edition of the Culture of Solidarity Fund has issued a first round of booster grants and rapid response donations for initiatives from across Europe with the aim to foster their stronger public recognition in the plight of European democracies and social cohesion under threat. This most recent edition of the Fund will continue to co-finance shortlisted solidarity initiatives and cultural democracy campaigns at least until the European Parliament elections, but possibly also beyond. It also serves as an earnest plea for more foundations to join forces in European solidarity.

Meet the initiatives, campaigns and programmes supported in the first round:

Meet the initiatives, campaigns and programmes supported in the second round:

In collaboration with:

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