Strasbourg, 07.05.2012 – “Beyond the economic crisis, Europe is facing a more serious crisis of values, as shown by the rise in populism and extremism in several European countries,” said Jean-Claude Mignon, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), speaking on the eve of Europe Day (8 May).
“Europe is in a period of great uncertainty. Citizens distrust politics and feel disoriented, while unscrupulous leaders profit from this weakness to seek political advantage by inciting hatred and promising miracles which undermine the social, economic and political achievements of our continent. Some are tempted by these siren calls.
On this Europe Day, I want to reaffirm the importance of the basic values of our Organisation, which have guided us through earlier crises, the values of the European Convention on Human Rights. At the Council of Europe, we are working harder than ever to reduce democratic divisions and to reconcile citizens – especially the young – to European values.
In June we will debate the situation of democracy in Europe: “Democracy at risk: the role of citizens and of the State today”. In October, we will hold the first World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg, as well as the 2nd Youth Assembly, an event I am particularly attached to.
Populist mirages are not the answer to this crisis of values. In a time of uncertainty, we need more Europe – the Europe of universal values – not less.”