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From the Field to the Institutions

Europe Must Act representatives attended two quite different conferences this summer. Allegra, our EU Advocacy Coordinator spoke at “The Good Lobby Summer Academy” in Bilbao about unconventional coalitions when it comes to lobbying and our Network Coordinator Christian met with more than 700 activists at the TransBorderSummerCamp in Nantes to discuss and create common strategies to fight for a society not based on exclusion and exploitation but on openness and on solidarity.

Strong networks are the key to drive change! That is why we as Europe Must Act engage in several networks across Europe and attend different types of meetings and conferences whenever possible.

The Good Lobby - Summer Academy

The Good Lobby is an NGO created with the aim to train and help citizens to influence major policy decisions and to set up ‘good lobbies’, enabling them to balance the undue influence of special interest groups. The organisation builds unconventional collaborations and alliances with and among NGOs, progressive companies, consultancies, and philanthropic organisations.

The Good Lobby Summer Academy gathers every year a selected group of thinkers, practitioners and academics working on different forms and politics of influence, mobilisation and lobbying coming from all over the world.

This year, we have been invited and granted a scholarship as representatives of Europe Must Act as well as members of the European consortium From the Sea to the City to talk about ‘opportunities and limits of informal coalitions’ in our sector.

Attendees in front of a museum
Attendees of the The Good Lobby Summer Academy in Bilbao

Allegra, our EU Advocacy Coordinator, presented what EMA does through informal alliances, coalitions or collaborations at three different levels.

  • On the field we gather evidence and produce reports and we do that thanks to the constant collaboration with NGOs, civil society organisations, people on the move, journalists and activists.

  • At local level, our Chapters engage in informal coalitions with municipalities, academics and students, influencers and local civil society organisations.

  • Last but not least, at EU level, EMA lobbies and promotes dialogue directly at the heart of European politics by acting alone or in networks (such as through the From the Sea to the City consortium) to dialogue with MEPs, human rights groups and refugee organisations.

Informal coalitions are therefore crucial for our advocacy work!

Presentation of EMA
Allegra, EMA's EU Advocacy Coordinator, explains opportunities and limits of informal coalitions

It has been very enriching to listen to professors and practitioners and to find ourselves outside of our ‘bubble’ and of our comfort zone. We engaged in conversations with people coming from the private sector, academica or coming from very different continents. We remained open to learn from each other and see how we could build connections starting from different premises and points of view. Cooperation and understanding across policy areas and actors is essential for systemic change.

Trans Border Summer Camp

In July 2022 more than 700 activists from across the world attended the TransBorderSummerCamp in Nantes/France. After 2019 it was the second time that the camp took place in the countryside north of the city of Nantes to bring together activists from Africa, Europa, South America and Australia to strengthen the network and to learn, share ideas and discuss.

Map in front of a tent where the meetings took place
Map of countries and regions of the attendees of the camp

We presented our work at the NoBorderFair on the first day of the camp, participated in several workshops and facilitated a workshop about Solidarity on Routes / Corridors of Solidarity together with the FromTheSeaToTheCity alliance.

The camp was a very good opportunity for Europe Must Act to meet friends and partners and to network with activists and volunteers who support people on the move in EU border regions and beyond. After a long time of online meetings due to the covid restrictions it was also a great place to finally meet people in real life.

The camp was self-organised which means that besides a hard working planning team, attendees had to sign up for shifts to clean, cook and support people during the camp. It was a great symbol of what we can achieve when we work together in solidarity and support each other!

Tents in the camp
Camping area at the camp

For us the Camp was a great chance to network with organisations from EU border regions and learn more about the situation in regions where we are currently not active. It was also a great opportunity to share and discuss our ideas of humane approaches to migration and reception of people on the move in Europe.

What can you do?

Is there a conference or panel discussion planned somewhere in your region or online? Try to find out and attend those events if possible. Very often it’s not required to have detailed knowledge about the topic or a professional background. Moreover can these events be great places to learn and discuss ideas with others!

If you would like to support our work, join our team, share our content, and consider donating to our ‘The European Alliance’ project here:

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