Following the successful Grassroots for Europe Conference on 25 January 2020 and the 2019 results, a small team of campaigners were determined to keep existing cooperation going and to maximise the work and the wider progress of our movement in conjunction with all like-minded groups. These volunteers met regularly throughout March 2020 and drafted a proposal for the first Round Table.
The team invited Grassroots for Europe (GfE) to host the initiative and to become one of the founding participants. As of end of August, we have completed 18 Round Table discussions.
The Round Table aims to support a broad, pro-European ecosystem, where campaigning organisations and pro-Europeans can feel at home and work beneficially together to:
- Provide a space for campaigners to build the trust and the understanding we all need to sustain effective, coordinated approaches, whilst complementing and respecting the many other, more formal, structures that organisations individually adopt.
- Continue to respect its collegiate, collaborative, origins and has introduced a rotating chair policy. From the outset, the team’s watchword has been “reducing duplication of effort”.
- Support different initiatives where we can test processes for mutual reinforcement. For example, campaign visuals or hashtags, in use in one region or in one issue, can be used elsewhere.
- This ecosystem offers a holistic way to learn mutually from one another; to see what is working; to experiment more.
Our Vision/Mission Statement:
During the July 2021 Consultations process an outline vision/mission statement was developed with a view to reviewing in 18 months-time when the strategy for Rejoining was expected to be clearer. “The Round Table is a non-aligned, shared, safe space for Pro-European organisations to meet, exchange views, facilitate collaboration and create mutually supportive opportunities to:
- Continue to challenge and hold government to account on commitments and promises made.
- Work with organisations that aim to highlight/campaign to change some of the social and economic causes and effects of Brexit.
- Support EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in EU countries.
- Continue to campaign for the closest possible ties to the EU with a longer-term objective of participating in European institutional life, plans and initiatives.”
“….We are all going in the same direction of travel… we need the vision statement to be flexible and enable organisations to climb the “mountain” in different ways, at different speeds and have diverse experiences.”
The Approach – How, When & Where?
The Round Table assembles “virtually” once a month. In line with our common aspiration, we are building momentum and the foundation for collaboration.
In an established series of Round Table meetings, over 20 campaign groups and individuals have come together to share their thinking and campaign initiatives. Our shared immediate priorities are to continue to campaign for the closest relationship with the EU, for respect of European values (of democracy, rule of law, respect of human rights, freedoms, solidarity etc) and to “hold Government to account” on commitments made at the 2016 Referendum. We just pursue these in our different ways.
Thanks to UKPEN.eu, we have a working tool (‘The Grid’) for sharing groups’ events and key national and international political milestones.
In addition, we are delighted that campaigns have already been able to reinforce others’ actions by mutual support and promotion, e.g. in a recent collaboration, the European Movement, Grassroots for Europe and UKPEN.eu all sent out mail shots in support of the different campaigns.
Round Table Speakers
We have had an engaging range of speakers including:- Richard Corbett CBE former MEP, Femi Oluwole, Political Activist. Mike Galsworthy Scientists for Europe, Naomi Smith, CEO Best for Britain, Gina Miller, Businesswoman and activist, Will Hutton, journalist, Anna Bird, CEO European Movement, Louise Houghton Editor in Chief, Bylines, David Gauke Lawyer and Former MP, Lionel Barber former Editor FT. Jessica Simor QC. Professor Steven Barnett & Dr Martin Moore Peter Oborne Journalist & Hardeep Matharu, Editor Byline Times.
In conclusion, we appreciate that Round Table members all have different niches and, perhaps, different short-term focuses for action. It has a commitment to help support collaborative action and welcomes all campaigns that aspire to the same values and, by doing this, as equals, we can all achieve our aims and provide that missing overall impact that so many millions of our compatriots want to see and support.