• S. Loesser

Aachen Wunschbaum with wishes for the European policy

Updated: Jan 23, 2021

As part of the campaign "@aachener.wunschbaum", that ran from September to December last year more than 100 Aachen residents knitted about 400 individual squares for a large Wunschbaum (wish tree) with wishes for the European policy. The project, a cooperation of the Europe Direct Büro Aachen (Europe Direct Office Aachen) with Görg & Görg - Wolle und Knöpfe, was supported by the Aachen artist Monika Nordhausen.

By means of this "urban knitting", not only an impressive textile Wunschbaum was created, but also around 60 individual wishes for the European policy were collected: from criticism of asylum policy and the observance of democratic values to the introduction of a financial transaction tax up to the abolition of summer time. At a regional level, for example, the keywords "umweltfreundliche Mobilität” (eco-friendly mobility), "Stärkung der Grenzregion” (strengthening of the border region) and the selection of the Erasmus exchange programme as a "volksnaher” (populist) winner of the Karlspreis [the oldest and best-known prize awarded for work done in the service of European unification] were mentioned. A respective list can currently be found on the Internet at www.europa-sprechstunde.de.

Now the residents’ wishes were handed over to Oberbürgermeisterin Sibylle Keupen. She was enthusiastic about the campaign and reported that she herself had also knitted a square for the Wunschbaum. Sibylle Keupen says:

"This colourful tree is a wonderful collective work by many Aachen residents. I am impressed by the participants’ wishes, which are generally related to the EU, but also to our Euregio. In my work, I will certainly take up those issues that can be implemented locally and regionally. By risking to think outside the box, we can learn a lot from our European neighbours. To me, a very stimulating wish is that the Dreiländereck (Three-Country Point) should become even more noticeable in Aachen. I can only emphasise that.”

Photo: © Stadt Aachen | Andreas Hermann

Due to the Corona pandemic, the wishes for Europe were forwarded by mail to the two Aachen Members of the European Parliament (MEP). MEP Sabine Verheyen explains in a statement:

"The Wunschbaum with wishes for the future European policy is a great campaign! Thank you very much for this great commitment. Our European community lives precisely from this – that people get involved, participate, contribute and thus shape Europe's future together. As a MEP for the Region Aachen, I will of course take the many residents’ wishes with me as inspiration for my work in the EU Parliament and will stand up for the interests at the European level!”

Daniel Freund, a MEP since 2019, exemplifies:

"In times when personal meetings are not possible, the Europa-Wunschbaum creates proximity to the people for European politics. Therefore, I would like to express my gratitude to the organisers. The wishes written down make it clear what we have to work on at a European level: constitutionality, solidarity and a humane asylum policy must be the fundamental pillars of our actions.”

Incidentally, Sabine Verheyen and Daniel Freund will be available to answer residents' questions at an online event on 28 January at 19:00, organised by Europe Direct Aachen. “Was macht eigentlich das Europaparlament (für mich)?” (What does the European Parliament actually do (for me)?) is the title of the free information evening (held in German), which is already open for registrations at www.europa-dienstag.de

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