We hear a lot about the importance of European values. History can be divisive (Europeans have, after all, a long history of stabbing and shooting one another) and culture is often tied strongly to national identity. But values are supposedly shared across the continent by all Europeans.
But what ARE European values? Democracy, human rights, and solidarity are often cited as examples of European values, but each of them is almost as nebulous a term as ‘values’.
It’s true that all EU Member States are democracies, but there are apparently differences of opinion about the specifics (see, for example, rancorous disagreements between the European Commission and countries such as Poland and Hungary over constitutional tinkering).
Most Europeans could probably get behind ‘human rights’ as a value, but the refugee crisis has caused deep divisions over the ‘universality’ of these supposedly universal rights. And European ‘solidarity’ has been buckling under intense pressure from austerity and the long-running European debt crisis.
What do European values mean to YOU? Are values such as democracy, human rights, and solidarity enough to bind the continent together? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!