When the AfD, Germany’s right-wing populist party, shot up in the polls in my home district of Lichtenberg in Berlin, it was clear to me: I'm going into politics to do something about it. What happened in Lichtenberg, what is happening in villages like Jamel in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, applies to the whole of Europe: right-wing populism is on the rise, as well as hatred and spiteful agitation, and the European idea is under attack from all sides. The racist attack in Hanau in Germany has shown how quickly this can turn into deadly violence.
We need many people, in all corners of Europe, who oppose this trend and stand up for democracy and a peaceful coexistence of all. It is important to me to support these people with my work – for example the environmental initiative in Poland, whose representatives are to be silenced by threats, the couple Horst and Birgit Lohmeyer, who live in Jamel and organise a democracy festival every year, or the educational initiative Ferhat Unvar, which, throughout Germany, conducts empowerment workshops for pupils affected by racism. The motto of the EU is "United in Diversity" – and I want to support all those who bring this wonderful idea to life.