Divide ed impera
Daniel and Sabine Röder founded a new European movement called “Pulse of Europe”. First of all, this is not something unique these days. Besides the Union of European Federalists and JEF there have been plenty of initiatives formed to save Europe: The 48%, March For Europe, DIEM25, Restart Europe Now, Europa neu begründen, Who if not us, European Way, Stand up for Europe, Pan-European Movement, Praxis Europa, Parti Fédéraliste Européen, L’Europe des Citoyens, Nova EUropa.
Without the intention to devalue the efforts of the people in mentioned initiatives, it is fair to say, that only few of them have been noticed by mainstream media and public majority. Still, Pulse of Europe is not just another marginalized group. It is different and unique. It doesn’t compete with other movements but functions as a potential umbrella group and panel for them. It does this through its simplicity and proves its sucess through the rapid growth it has already experienced. Where others make plans, organise conferences, debates and launch information campaigns, Pulse of Europe goes to the streets equipped with the symbols of Europe, Flag and Ode to Joy and an open microphone. The protesters simply take a stand for Europe in public for everyone to see.
The rise of European civil society
The pace of the development astonishes. Last November a couple from Frankfurt emailed several friends. Shocked by the Brexit, the victory of Donald Trump and the rise of populists in the Netherlands, France, Italy and Germany, they decided to take action. They invited friends to join them and met in Frankfurt for a small protest. They decided to repeat this excercise every sunday at 2 pm and every new protester got the homework, to bring friends with him next time. On February 19 more than 2000 people gathered in Frankfurt alone. In other cities like Karlsruhe, Freiburg, Amsterdam, Lyon, Toulose, Brussels, Bath, Berlin, Celle, Essen, Halle, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Kassel, Cologne, Munich, Passau, Wiesbaden... groups formed and did the same. Several namely newspapers and television stations reported about the protests and attracted even more attention.
It works so well because Pulse of Europe is not presenting itself as an overly political movement. It is open to everyone and lures people with no protest experience to its happenings with an entertaining appeal, promoting a positive image of Europe, without thematically ignoring the threat of populism, that endangers this Europe. The protests challenge eurosceptic populists and dare to leave their lethargic passivity behind to join them. Their goals are basic matters of course: peace, democracy, civil rights, rule of law, freedom, critical self-reflection of European policy, unity in diversity, participation, closeness to citizens and simply Europe. Matters of course questioned by the Farages, Putins, Trumps, Orbáns, Szydłos, Grillos, Erdoğans, Le Pens, Wilders and Petrys. Pulse of Europe draws a line, saying: this far and no further!