For Ralf Pretzel of Seligenstadt, the main EU project of the past few months is already over – and now he has been surprisingly invited to the grand final event in Strasbourg, where the proposals made by the groups on the future of Europe are presented to Macron and von der Leyen and Co . Great ending, says Pretzel.
Seligenstadt – Ralph Pretzel didn’t expect that either. In the past few months, the man from Selegenstadt was one of 800 selected EU citizens who took part in a conference on the future of Europe. With his third workshop in Dublin a few weeks ago, the project was already over for him – but then he received a surprise invitation to Strasbourg. “The four groups elected 20 representatives each, and they were to deliver the jointly developed proposals in Strasbourg,” says Pretzel. Now those who defended the election but were not selected have also received an invitation to the special date.
Being there again in the heart of political Europe and seeing how the proposals that have been brewing for months were delivered to EU Council President Emmanuel Macron, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and President of the European Parliament Roberta Mitsula was also a special moment for Seligenstädter.
Seligenstädter present at the presentation of the proposal in Strasbourg
The event in the EU Parliament, which was filled with about a thousand politicians, lasted nearly two hours. Participants were also led through the program. “If one of us says, so to speak, he gives Ursula von der Leyen the floor, that’s a thing,” says Ralph Pretzel, laughing. Citizens fired bullets and politicians listened.
It is now up to them to implement the proposals for the future of Europe. If Ursula von der Leyen is going, then the first points of the project should already be implemented in the fall – she announced this in her speech.
The Seligenstadt resident also believes in the project’s success. “It really can’t go wrong. On the one hand, the European Union has put tremendous efforts into this, and on the other hand, politicians are also aware that there will be a break with citizens if they implement few or no proposals.”
Seligenstädter looks forward to an exchange with other participants in the EU project
While the event in Strasbourg was just another item on the politicians’ agenda – Macron then traveled to Berlin and spoke with Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Ursula von der Leyen traveled to Budapest and met with Prime Minister Viktor Urban – Ralph Pretzel was once again happy with the stock exchange with the other participants in the project .
After arriving the day before the final event, everyone met for the evening. We were asked to bring something local from our home countries. Naturally, because it was so easy to transport, many resorted to drinks.” “There was vodka from Poland, the French brought wine and I made some handcrafted beer from Glapsbrau—and cider.”
Seligenstädter has Glaabsbräu beer and cider in his bags
The participants immediately got back to talking about it, getting to know each other firsthand. “A few friendships have already been made since then. We discussed that we want to keep in touch, even if the events are over now,” says Pretzel. He has already issued an invitation to Seligenstadt. He, in turn, is looking forward to a visit to Bremen, Hanover or Luchau Dannenberg. It is difficult to keep in touch with participants from outside Germany. “Unfortunately, convenience often wins,” admits Pretzel. “At the end of the day, it is easier to talk to each other in German. Conversations with others have always been really exciting.”
The European journey began about nine months ago in Strasbourg, and the ceremonial conclusion was also in this city – the project group also closed geographically. “To be sitting in the plenary of the European Parliament, it was a rather sublime feeling,” says Ralph Pretzel. “I said to myself: I have now steered the European Union a little in the direction that we are now setting out.”