- since 2015
- Stiftung Mercator, MitOst e.V.
At a time when European unification has long since ceased to be a matter of course and is being challenged by the rise of right-wing populist parties and the Brexit, it is clear that good solutions are needed. But how should action be taken in this context? The Advocate Europe ideas competition can provide an answer by strengthening European civil society and supporting various stakeholders in building a community. This will help to identify and implement good solutions across Europe.
Together with MitOst e.V. and sponsored by Stiftung Mercator, we have created a platform for the ideas competition where suggestions can be submitted by users, evaluated and discussed by the community. In terms of content, the process deals with topics such as political education, intercultural and transnational exchange, environmental protection, migration, social inclusion, democratic and social innovations as well as art and culture.
In January 2018, the collection of ideas on "Democracy in Europe" ended. A total of 474 ideas from over 1,000 civil society organisations from 43 countries were submitted online. Eight winners were then selected from a shortlist and awarded prizes of up to EUR 50,000 each. This early-stage funding was used to develop the projects and thus implement solutions for societal issues in Europe. One of the winners is the DECiDe project, which combines digital identities and voting with the help of random selection and inspires European democracy.
From the beginning of the idea collection to the implementation of the developed ideas, it became clear where the special strength and innovative power of the online idea competition lies: Advocate Europe not only places organisations and their projects in competition with each other, but also supports cooperation between them. In this way, the process benefits both the winners and everyone else involved. This is our contribution to sustainable democratisation.