We, the Council of European Space, recognize that the current state of the public sphere in Europe is under threat. Democracy is being undermined by hate speech, fake news, and national filter bubbles that prevent constructive debate on issues that affect us all. The digital age has brought about a structural change in the public sphere, enabling the spread of misinformation and manipulation, which undermines the formation of informed opinions. Furthermore, democracy needs a public space in which people can freely move and exchange ideas.
We believe that the time has come to build a European Public Space that is democratic, independent, and diverse. This new public sphere will counterbalance the attention economy of powerful social platforms that undermine democracy and exploit users for purely economic gain. We call for the development of common digital platforms and technologies that prioritize democratic values and are accessible to all, regardless of national borders. And we are developing ideas for spaces where people can go to deal with their common issues without being monitored and manipulated.
The Council of European Space will be a think-and-do-tank that advocates for the urgent need for a European Public Space. We will develop evidence-based and politically viable strategies that advance the goal of an open, fair, and safe European Public Space.
Our work will be guided by the core value of Unity in Diversity, reflecting Europe’s diverse perspectives towards a common goal of a democratic and more unified Europe.
We will bring together eminent European personalities with diverse experiences and perspectives to serve as members of the Council. Our Founding Director, Matthias Pfeffer, a long-time journalist and book author, will lead the independent foundation, which will provide political support for the European Public Space and support existing initiatives from science, industry, and civil society.
We recognize the fundamental importance of the right to free information for democracy, diversity, and social cohesion, as stated in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. We believe that a pluralistic and diverse communication oriented towards common values and the common good is a fundamental precondition for democracy. Without a functioning democratic public sphere, there is no future for Europe.
Therefore, we call on all European citizens to join us in reclaiming the public sphere and building the European Public Space now. Together, we can create a space that promotes democracy, values diversity, and fosters unity, and helps safeguard the future of Europe.