Cooperation beyond borders
Congratulations, EFC, and many happy returns! Privately established foundations working for the common good are central to European history, first appearing in recorded history when Plato founded the “Academia” in Athens in 387 BC. Foundations are central to liberal societies as they allow the individual to engage in the development of society. This private involvement, fuelled by the idea of responsibility, is as essential to the local community as it is essential to a group of nations that work hard on their way to becoming nothing less than a union. The EU was created after World Word II as a means to securing peace – and, thank God, it has been successful in this endeavour. Now, with all the international challenges from migration to climate change, it must go on with its ambition for a union of responsible member states and responsible member citizens. Foundations are a pillar of civil society; thus, they are important to reaching this goal.
I am grateful to the EFC that it has continued since its start in 1989 to foster civil society on a European level. The EFC manages to bring together individual foundations that are convinced of the idea of cooperation beyond borders and has fostered the idea of a European civil society, which is a pre-requisite for any ambition of a true European Union. I am grateful that the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius has been member of the EFC for more than 20 years. We wish EFC all the best for the coming years!