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. It is available in the following languages: English, French, German, Swedish, Dutch, Polish, Spanish, Italian, Greek, Romanian, Hungarian, Latvian, Slovak, Portuguese, Danish, Bulgarian, Esperanto, Finnish and Turkish from this website.
We sought endorsement of the Brussels Declaration by politicians, community leaders, academics, writers and non-governmental organisations from all 27 member states of the European Union, plus Norway, Iceland and Switzerland. We urged everyone, whatever their faith or creed, to endorse the Brussels Declaration.
The Declaration was formally launched in Brussels on 27th February, ahead of the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the signing of the Treaty of Rome on March 25th.
The Vision for Europe project was a joint venture between the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), the European Humanist Federation (EHF) and Catholics for a Free Choice (CFFC).
The main committee members, and
their roles at the time, were:
Frances Kissling (outgoing president CFFC), Jon O'Brien (incoming president CFFC), Michelle Ringuette, Nina Miller and Elfrieda Harth of CFFC
David Pollock (president EHF) and Georges Lienard (Gen Sec. EHF)
Sonja Eggericks (president IHEU) and Roy Brown (immediate past president, IHEU)
Sophie in't Veld MEP, Chair of the European Parliament All-Party Group on Separation of Religion and Politics.
Jeremy Gibbs of IHEU provided technical support to the project as consultant to the committee.
Secretary to the committee and project coordinator was Roy Brown.
The members of the editorial
committee were as follows:
Ishtiaq Ahmed, Professor of Political Science, University of Stockholm, Sweden
Matt Cherry, President, NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief, UN, New York
Paul Cliteur, Professor of Jurisprudence, University of Leiden, Netherlands
Arnaud Dotezac, Human Rights Lawyer, France
Michelle Ringuette, Program Officer, Catholics for a Free Choice.
Keith Porteous Wood, General Secretary, National Secular Society, UK
Roy Brown, immediate past president IHEU, secretary to the committee
Copyright 2007 Committee for A Vision for Europe
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