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This article originally appeared on TwentyThirty.

"If you talk about Europe,

you talk about values – not citizenship."

Clemens Schneider

Europe needs responsible leadership – a mindset which the BMW Foundation is reinforcing through its global leadership programs. We believe that everyone can make a crucial contribution to social and political change. Through the Munich European Forum, the BMW Foundation is taking a clear stance for the principles and goals of a united Europe. For our opening video, we brought together European citizens from different backgrounds and asked them to engage with some urgent issues we are facing today.

How can we close the yawning gap between the expectations of the people and the actions of those in government? How do EU citizens view the European Union? And why is it so difficult to get through to the skeptics?

Here are their thoughts on the subject.

Europe’s strength has been its value-based rule-of-law approach. The protection of human rights, including minority rights, is at the heart of our understanding of a fair and stable society. These rights are universal and non-negotiable. This is why they are at the core of the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda of the UN, which also provides the framework for our work at the BMW Foundation.

In 2017, we established a new leadership core format: the “Refocusing Europe” dialogue process connects the Foundation’s overarching theme of Responsible Leadership with a substantive focus on Sustainable Development Goal 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and its importance for Europe.

EU citizen identity

Munich European Forum

The Munich European Forum will take place on October 25–26, 2018. Entitled "Building a Strong Europe for Citizens," the Forum concludes and puts into a larger perspective the results and ideas of the first cycle of a dialogue process conducted over the last 18 months: Three BMW Foundation European Tables dealt with key issues related to Europe’s economy, security, and identity.

At a time when the European Union is threatened with disintegration, the BMW Foundation is adopting a clear position and standing up for the principles and objectives of a united and emboldened Europe. As a foundation with German roots and a global orientation, we are firmly committed to the values of the European community: freedom, democracy, rule of law, tolerance, and respect for human dignity.

We encourage leaders to develop innovative ideas for a strong Europe – a Europe that is able to take on the enormous challenges of being a global player. Our main focus is on the relationship between the EU’s institutions and its citizens: How can we close the yawning gap between the expectations of the people and the actions of those in government? How do the citizens view the European Union? And why is it so difficult to get through to the skeptics?

This article is presented in collaboration with TwentyThirty

TwentyThirty is an online magazine presented by the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt. It sheds light on the social, political, and environmental challenges we face and features inspiring Responsible Leaders who are working to solve them. Follow their work on Facebook.