Monday, March 26, 2007

'God'less Europe - or so :)

Quite interesting. Secular folks like myself have supported a document called the 'Brussels Declaration'. This document, published a few weeks ago, was meant to influence European Union debates on our commonly shared values in Europe. We were concerned that the Pope and his minions in the EU parliament might sneak in 'God' in some incarnation or other. Well, I am pleased to report that the official declaration of the European citizen's values makes no mention of 'God' ... and the Pope is reportedly not pleased at all. Here then the Berlin Declaration

The Berlin Declaration

Europe was for centuries an Idea, a hope for freedom and understanding. This hope has been fulfilled. European unity has enabled us to live in peace and prosperity. It has created a community and overcome differences. Every member has helped to unite Europe and to strengthen democracy, the rule of law. We have to thank the love of freedom of the people of central and eastern Europe that Europe’s unnatural divisions are today finally overcome. With European unity, we have learned the lessons from our bloody conflicts and painful history. We live today together in a way that was never previously possible. We citizens of the European Union are united in our good fortune.

Section 1

In the European Union we realise our common ideals: for us the individual is central. His dignity is inviolable. His rights are inalienable. Women and men have equal rights. We strive for peace and freedom, for democracy and the rule of law, for mutual respect and responsibility, for prosperity and security, for tolerance and participation, justice and solidarity. We live and function together in the European Union in a unique way. This expresses itself in the democratic co-operation of member states and European institutions. The European Union is based on equal rights and solidarity. That is how we make possible a fair balance of interests between the member states. We uphold in the European Union the individuality and the diverse traditions of its members. The open frontiers and the lively diversity of languages, cultures and regions enrich us. Many goals cannot be achieved independently but only through common action. The European Union, the member states and their regions and local communities share these tasks.

Section 2

We face great challenges which cannot be confined to national frontiers. The European Union is our answer to them. Only together can we preserve our European social model in the future to the benefit of all citizens in the European Union. This European model unites economic success and social responsibility. The common market and the euro make us strong.

That is how we can shape the increasing worldwide interdependency of the economy and ever expanding competition on international markets according to our values. Europe’s wealth lies in the knowledge and abilities of its people; this is the key to growth, employment and social cohesion. We will jointly fight terrorism and organised crime. We will also defend our freedom and civil rights against their enemies. Racism and xenophobia must never again be given their chance. We will act to ensure that conflicts in the world are solved peacefully and that people do not become victims of war, terrorism or violence.

The European Union will promote freedom and development in the world. We want to push back poverty, hunger and disease. In doing so, we will continue to play a leading role. In energy policy and protection of the climate we want to go forward together and make our contribution to heading off the global threat of climate change.

Section 3

The European Union will continue to live in the future on the basis of its openness and the will of its members to strengthen together the inner development of the European Union. The European Union will continue to promote democracy, stability and prosperity beyond its frontiers. European unity has made reality out of a dream nurtured by earlier generations. Our history warns us that we have to protect this good fortune for future generations. We must continue to renew and update the political shape of Europe. That is why, 50 years after the signing of the Treaties of Rome, we are today united in the goal of achieving a renewed common foundation for the European Union before the elections to the European Parliament in 2009.

Because we know: Europe is our common future.

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