Saturday, 7 April 2007

Vision for Europe - Brussels Declaration

WASPS Links (external) & Summary

A Vision for Europe

As the 50th anniversary of the creation of the European Union approaches, the principles and values on which modern Europe was founded are once again under threat. Recent events have thrown into sharp focus the divisions that exist between those who share our liberal, humanitarian values and those who seek to create a more authoritarian society, or would use our culture of tolerance to promote intolerance and undermine democracy.

Unless we stand firm and defend our values now, fundamentalism and authoritarianism will once again ride roughshod over our rights.

We offer this Vision for Europe to the people of Europe as a restatement of our common values, the liberal values of individual freedom, democracy and the rule of law on which modern European civilisation is based. They are not the values of a single culture or tradition but are our shared values, the values that enable Europeans of all backgrounds, cultures and traditions to live together in peace and harmony.

The Vision for Europe is the outcome of an unprecedented collaboration between academics, politicians, writers, community leaders and both secular and religious non-governmental organizations.

The centrepiece of the Vision for Europe is the Brussels Declaration, a one-page summary of our common values. More:

This is a full list of the people and organizations who have accepted the Brussels Declaration.

Over 400 of Europe’s leading personalities have so far lent their names to the Brussels Declaration including more than 60 MEPs. The signatories include leading conservative, liberal, social democratic and green party politicians, Catholic, Protestant, Humanist, Muslim, Jewish and Hindu leaders, and many leading academics, philosophers and scientists, including several Nobel prize-winners.

Brussels Declaration launched

European Parliament, 27 February 2007

A Secular Vision for Europe

On this, the 50th anniversary of the creation of the European Union, we reaffirm the common values that have shaped and guided the foundation of modern European civilisation, and that will continue to inspire and shape our future.

These values emerged from the long experience of our forebears and their sometimes bitter struggles against tyranny. They are essentially secular, that is neutral in matters of religion and belief. They underpin a society in which all peoples, whatever their religion, philosophy or beliefs may live in harmony without favour or discrimination.

The Secular Vision for Europe is neither a manifesto nor a program of action, but a re-statement of the ground rules that enable all Europeans whatever their origin or background to live together in peace and harmony. They are based on an understanding of our common humanity, individual human rights, mutual tolerance, and agreement neither to resort to threats or violence nor to seek to impose our own particular worldview on others.

These values are not those of a single culture or religion, but are universal. They have existed in one form or another throughout all of human history and they find resonance in all of the cultures and religions that make up today’s Europe. They entail both rights and responsibilities. The key values are these: the autonomy, dignity and worth of every individual; democracy, human rights and the rule of law; a spirit of openness and free inquiry; and an understanding that the state must be independent of religion.

Finally, we recognise that human rights are individual rights and apply to the individual rather than the group. Every citizen, regardless of their origin or background, must have equal rights and protection, and an equal say through the democratic process.

Our values come neither from divine authority nor from a particular tradition or culture but are deeply grounded in human nature. Many evolved over centuries of struggle against authoritarian regimes and against those who sought to impose their will on others, often by force. They provide rights for the weak against the powerful, and for the individual against the would-be oppressor. They were inspired by the tribulations of history and by our common resolve that never again shall Europeans suffer at the hands of tyranny. Many who fought for these principles paid with their lives.

Our values are the common heritage of all Europeans. We must not compromise the gains that our civilisation has made over the centuries, and that have cost the lives and freedom of so many. We need to educate our citizens, and use every effort to explain and defend our values.

We call upon the people of Europe and all who care for freedom, democracy and the rule of law to join us in promoting and protecting these, our common values.



The principles and values on which European civilisation is founded are once again under threat. We call upon the people of Europe and all who care for freedom, democracy and the rule of law to join us in promoting and protecting them.

Committee for A Vision for Europe, Brussels, 25 March 2007.

Action: Register your support for the Brussels Declaration

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