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Christian Political Foundation for Europe
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‘Values for Europe’ conference in The Hague

‘Values for Europe’ conference in The Hague

27aprilFriday 27 April 2012

At April 27, the ECPF held a congress about the European Union in The Hague, together with the Research Institute of the ChristenUnie party.

The beautiful Old Meeting Hall of the Dutch House of Representatives was full with congress participants that afternoon. The timing of the congress could not have been better, because just in that week important negotiations had taken place about the 2013 budget, in which the ChristenUnie had taken the lead. Budget cuts are necessary because of European agreements in the Stability- and Growth Pact.

Researchers Luitwieler and Ten Napel and politicians Slob and Van Dalen were speakers at the congress. Over 80 attendants participated in the conference.

Dr. Sander Luitwieler, researcher for the ECPF ‘Europe’s Values’ study project, encouraged the Dutch ChristenUnie party to speak henceforth both positive and critical about the European Union. In the Christian political philosophical tradition originating from neo-Calvinism, ‘public justice’ is seen as the core political norm for the task of government.

Luitwieler stated that public justice can be applied also at a supranational level, such as that of the European Union. Public justice can help policy makers to balance multiple interests. Justice should be the leading principle, not the laws of economics and the financial markets.

At the moment, Europe is at a crosspoint between, at the one side, a financial crisis, and, at the other side, also a crisis of legitimacy. The Dutch cabinet has fallen also more or less because of the developments in Europe. The European desire for further integration runs up against a lack of support. This can only be countered if the EU itself recognizes where it is good at and when it also guarantees cultural diversity between member states.

Constitutional law scholar prof. Hans Martien ten Napel argued for ‘a higher form of tolerance’ in Europe than just escaping sensitive issues. Remaining silent about the name of God in a constitution is not religiously impartial. Based on the thought of European law professor Joseph Weiler, Ten Napel observed a ‘Christian deficit’ in Europe.

This is shown in the fact that many academics, especially on the history of European integration, neglect the Christian heritage of Europe. European integration was not defended because of the process itself or because of the results, but because of the ideals that were the foundation for it. Now Europe is increasingly post-Christian, also the European idealism (Weiler even calls it ‘European messianism’) disappears.

Peter van Dalen MEP suggested that research should be done on the possible future of the eurozone. Might it be a good idea to introduce an adjusted euro for countries like Greece and Spain, so that countries can develop their economies in their own ways, taking into account their own possibilities? It has become clear that the current way to deal with the crisis has not led to a solution.

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