What Are ‘European Values’?

A line in a report in Breitbart UK on the EU migrant row set me thinking:

Hollande told Mr Orban that if he did not like it, his country should leave the EU: “States that don’t respect European values should ask if they belong within the EU,” he said.

What are ‘European values’?

And if ‘European values’ must be respected, on pain of expulsion from the EU, does that not suggest that ‘European values’ have been formally enumerated in detail somewhere in the EU’s constitution? For how else can it be determined whether somebody is failing to respect them, if they have not been set out in detail?

But as far as I can see, there is no document setting out ‘European values’ anywhere at all. And thus Hollande’s ‘European values’ are really most likely simply his own values, as also are Orban’s, and anyone else you might care to mention.

In a 2007 article with the title What are European values? Guardian columnist Charles Grant waved a pen at the question. He cites the 2007 Berlin Declaration, which does actually attempt to set out some shared values,

In the European Union we are turning our common ideals into reality: for us, the individual is paramount. His dignity is inviolable. His rights are inalienable. Women and men enjoy equal rights.

We are striving for peace and freedom, for democracy and the rule of law, for mutual respect and shared responsibility, for prosperity and security, for tolerance and participation, for justice and solidarity.

We have a unique way of living and working together in the European Union. is is expressed through the democratic interaction of the Member States and the European institutions. e European Union is founded on equal rights and mutually supportive cooperation. is enables us to strike a fair balance between Member States’ interests.

We preserve in the European Union the identities and diverse traditions of its Member States. We are enriched by open borders and a lively variety of languages, cultures and regions. ere are many goals which we cannot achieve on our own, but only in concert. Tasks are shared between the European Union, the Member States and their regions and local authorities…

Peace. Freedom. Rule of law. Rights. Prosperity. Justice. Solidarity. All large, vague, nebulous words whose meaning defies precise definition.

The Declaration then goes on to add:

We intend jointly to lead the way in energy policy and climate protection and make our contribution to averting the global threat of climate change.

Really? Averting climate change is a shared European value or ideal? If that’s in the Berlin Declaration, then one might expect them to have also added something like:

We intend to make Europe completely smoke-free, and to ban smoking in all public places, and also to ban tobacco advertising, displays, and proprietary packaging.

They didn’t, but they may as well have done, as it had already been set out in detail in Council Recommendation 200354/EC.

And so here are two ‘European values’ which I don’t share. Firstly I think global warming is largely an illusion, and we ought to be much more worried about how much longer our current inter-glacial warm period will last. And secondly I think smoking bans are highly socially divisive and economically hobbling, and that they undermine freedom, solidarity (the “glue” that holds society together), justice, the rights of smokers, and thus most of the values or ideals seemingly set out in the Berlin Declaration.

In fact, I am forced to conclude that whatever the authors meant by ‘freedom’, ‘justice’, ‘rights’, ‘solidarity’, etc, it’s something quite different from what these words usually mean to me. And that there are most likely no common, shared ‘European values’ at all. Or none that will survive close interrogation.

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18 Responses to What Are ‘European Values’?

  1. beobrigitte says:

    What are ‘European values’?

    Good question.

  2. prog says:

    There’s at least one value that Europe’s largest vehicle manufacturer (and hence major economy stimulant) doesn’t share. And, by some accounts, not the only one.

  3. waltc says:

    Clearly, then, the final European Value is “Conform or F off.”

    • Bemused says:

      Except it is almost impossible to F off. So really it is “you will conform, now shut the F up and get with the program”

      • Rose says:

        “you will conform, now shut the F up and get with the program” – whatever harebrained scheme we are cooking up in secret this week.

  4. harleyrider1978 says:
    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Bonhner is the smoking speaker of the house,yet he hasn’t done a damn thing to help anyone against owebamas insanity against smokers.

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    Hungarian bishop: Pope wrong in appealing for aid to sea of refugees; this is actually a Muslim invasion of Europe


    VA gets Shorted $2.6 Billion while Obama Admin Budgets $4.5 Billion on Syrians Migrants

    From Truth and Action: House lawmakers say the Veterans Affairs Department’s $2.6 billion budget shortfall for this fiscal year is further proof of administrators’…

  6. harleyrider1978 says:

    Arctic Sea Ice Thickness Is Identical To 75 Years Ago

    Posted on September 24, 2015 by tonyheller

    Arctic sea ice rapidly melted from 1910 to 1940, and was reduced to two meters thick by 1940.

  7. jay says:

    The term “member states” always jars with me – it screams United States of Europe which suggests that each state has (or should have) no sovereignty or sense of nationhood. I’ve come across something called the Coudenhove-Kalergi plan in which some people see a very sinister objective in which the EU is complicit.

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    We’re doomed: EU chief fears union will COLLAPSE over migrant crisis

    THE European Union has lost control of its borders and risks total collapse if they are not sealed, a senior Brussels diplomat has warned.


  9. Rose says:

    Smoking ban has damaged working class communities more than pit closures, says Ukip MEP Tim Aker
    25 September 2015

    “The smoking ban has done more damage to working class communities than pit closures, a Ukip MEP has claimed.

    Tim Aker, who represents South East England in the European Parliament, launched a scathing attack on the Labour party for failing to stand up for working class people.

    He was speaking at a fringe event at Ukip’s conference in Doncaster titled “Who stands up for the working class?”

    He singled out the ban on smoking – introduced by Tony Blair in 2007 – as “one of the most damaging things the Labour party has done,” saying it stopped people from having “a place to meet”.

    “When they don’t have a place to socialise they retreat,” Mr Aker told Ukip activists. He accused Labour of “ignoring the facts” by blaming pit closures for destroying working class communities.”

    Hard to dispute, relatively few communities across the country have ever had a coal mine, but most of them had a pub.

    Usual suspects reply

    “Labour MP Kevin Barron immediately condemned the Ukip member – who was slammed only last week for blaming overgrown grass in his constituency on the refugee crisis.
    Mr Barron said: “These outrageous comments show just how out of touch UKIP are with working people.”

    “Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at Action on Smoking and Health, said the claims were ‘complete nonsense’.
    She told the Mirror: “Far from ‘destroying communities’ ending smoking in workplaces is saving lives and improving health.
    “It’s a popular law that our research shows the public, including UKIP voters, want to keep.”

  10. harleyrider1978 says:

    Michael J. McFadden Ahh! Found it! http://mellmangroup.com/about-us/philosophy/ This group was used by Antis back in the mid 2000s… dunno if it’s still popular with them, but I’m *sure* they like the “philosophy”:

    “Some pollsters simply report on opinions. We use the most sophisticated analytical tools available to understand the motivations of consumers and voters so we can intervene in their decision-making processes to produce the outcomes our clients want.”

    As with almost everything else the Antismokers do, say, or write … their polling is based, ultimately, on one sort of lie or another.

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