Present and future of Europe's values

Present and future of Europe's values

Present and future of Europe's values

"Europe is in a crisis of values. EU institutions and memberships must act with determination and unity to ensure the cohesion of the Union." This was stressed by Marcelino Oreja, former Spanish Foreign Minister and President of the Institute for European Studies of the University CEU San Pablo, at a conference organised by Andersen Global and LGP in Madrid. Jaime Olleros, Managing Partner Andersen Tax & Legal (Spain), Gabriel Lansky and Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, former lawyer and Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, participated in the conference on 6 May 2019 in the Andersen Auditorium.

In his introductory statement, Jaime Olleros underlined - probably with a view to the upcoming EU elections - the importance of a common European origin, especially against the background of the migration issue, the threat of Brexit and the strengthening of extremist parties. "The growing insecurity in Europe leads us to concern ourselves with our own origins. What is Europe, what values does the European Union represent, where will the EU go in the future," said Olleros. Gabriel Lansky pointed out the current circumstances that make it difficult to stand up for European values decisively. Yet: "Europe thrives on pluralism, not on nationalism or illiberal currents." Former minister Íñigo Méndez de Vigo quoted Søren Kierkegaard as saying that life can only be understood backwards, but lived forwards.

Using numerous examples, Marcelino Oreja outlined the erosion of European values, mentioning Poland with its controversial judicial reform, but also Romania and Hungary. Currently, the Italian government is "deaf" to the appeals of the EU Commission, so that the states of the Eurozone must think about stricter controls and sanctions against Italy. Even in Sweden, populists are growing stronger - they are moving from a marginal phenomenon to a European mainstream. The situation is similar in the Netherlands, France, Germany and Italy. According to Oreja, around half of the EU states are recording strong growth in right-wing conservative parties - even founding members such as Germany would not be safe from this development. They would all attack not only immigrants but also refugees in the political discourse on the migration issue, the former minister lamented. The opposition is "Europeans versus nationalists". Nobody knows what will happen after Brexit, but the damage to the European institutions is already fixed. Europe must protect itself from forces that want to bring down the European project. "We must pay more attention to our values than ever and make them effective. Our identity and beliefs depend on these values." This requires determination and clarity in communication.

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