‘”Values for Europe” conference in The Hague
Friday 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.’
‘The Christian Political Foundation for Europe (CPFE, formerly ECPF) is an association that acts as the political foundation for the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM). The CPFE supports and underpins the ECPM especially in terms of political content by European co-operation and the introduction of analysis, ideas and policy options.
The CPFE shares the basic program and Christian values of the ECPM. As association the CPFE welcomes thinktanks, NGO’s and individual politicians as members if they agree with these values and the Christian-democrat principles as expressed in the basic program.
The CPFE has three main goals among which its activities will be organized:
- Connecting Christian inspired think-tanks and NGOs and starting a process of exchange of knowledge and experience. The CPFE website will become a European portal to many organizations, virtual libraries and information on many fields of policy. Also a database will be developed that will help parties, politicians and other organizations in their work.
- Informing parties and politicians at the national level on important European policy developments that will enable them to react early and efficiently on ideas coming from the EU institutions. This work will be accompanied by actual policy comments.
- Creating new ideas and approaches to the challenges in a globalised world and a global economy. The CPFE supports in-depth study projects that highlight and work from Christian inspiration. The CPFE wants to formulate attractive alternatives for the dominant secular dogmas in culture and economics.’
About Sander Luitwieler’s book A community of peoples: Europe’s values and public justice in the EU: