30 years of Four Motors – Four regions for a strong Europe

On July 3, 2018 the Four Motors for Europe celebrated their 30th anniversary.

Celebration 30 Years of 4 Motors for Europe

Winfried Kretschmann and his partners celebrating the anniversary | (c) Staatsministerium Baden-Württemberg

"Great theatre is about challenging how we think and encouraging us to fantasize about a world we aspire to", Willem Dafoe allegedly said.

This being said, the theater in Stuttgart has been chosen as the location of the key event of the Presidency of Baden-Württemberg for good reason. On the 3rd of July 2018 the Four Motors for Europe celebrated their 30th anniversary. Around 600 guests from the Four Motors’ regions attended the conference entitled “30 years of Four Motors – four regions for a strong Europe” on the occasion of the jubilee. Beyond just looking back at 30 years of successful cooperation, a look ahead has been taken.

30 years after the foundation of the Four Motors for Europe the Minister President of Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, invited his partners, vice-president Yannick Neuder (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes), vice-president Pere Aragonès (Catalonia) as well as president Atilio Fontana (Lombardy) to exchange their ideas on the role of regions in Europe. Their guest in the panel discussion on this topic was key note speaker Robert Menasse, winner of the German book prize 2017 with his oeuvre die Hauptstadt (the capital).

The discussion showed that also European regions with similar characteristics like the Four Motors differ in defining features like culture, language or regional competencies. Nonetheless they are rooted in a political commitment to work together based on goals like prosperity, innovation and creativity that sparked the cooperation in 1988. Equally, what binds todays’ Four Motors together is the everyday project-based cooperation within the network. Among the guests attending the jubilee many representatives of those projects were assembled. In this respect, the exchange of individual citizens should be both the cornerstone of the European Union as well as the Four Motors for Europe.

30 years ago, the founding fathers of the Four Motors for Europe shared the political vision that the European integration should be fostered by the cooperation of likeminded European regions. In the past 30 years the representation of the regional level in Brussels improved notably, not least due to the creation of the Committee of the Regions. The Four Motors stay a regional network, willing to shape European policies through joint declarations, events and a regular exchange of their offices in Brussels. The European aspiration of the Four Motors stays unchanged, in particular in the light of the future of Europe debate. Commissioner Günther Oettinger, who held the closing speech of the conference, underlined the necessity of regions, in particular the Four Motors for Europe to facilitate European solutions and to overcome fault lines.

The political representatives of the Four Motors used the occasion of the anniversary to renew their commitment to cooperate and even to intensify cooperation.