The French Popular Education League reaffirmed its commitment to “Act and decide as a citizen of Europe” at its 92nd congress which took place in Lyon in 2004. This motion crowns long-standing activities and reflections. From their founding in 1987 by Claude Julien, director of Le Monde diplomatique and president of the League, the Condorcet circles have been committed to working on topics related to Europe and the European Union.
Here are some excerpts from the motion:
The theme “Acting and deciding as citizens of Europe” emerged both as a result of our internal reflection, a desire to reduce the gap between the importance of the Union’s decisions and the citizens’ perception and a desire to be up to date with the latest news during important deadlines. Out of disinterest, fear or a feeling of helplessness, a strong abstention manifests itself in the European elections where Europe is too often caricatured in terms of hell or paradise; a gulf is growing between the vast majority of citizens and the Union…
Identity and founding principles
What heritage? Who are we? What do we want to do together? Europe is perceived at first glance more as a diversity than a unity. It is clear that if there is a European identity, it cannot reside in its past greatness, nor can it be limited to the current pragmatic construction, but seen from other continents, the distinctions become blurred, Europe appears as a reality. The risk today would be to make a mistake about Europe and to want to build an identity, a culture which would not reflect the Europe of the peoples who live there and who must build it …
Recasting a popular education of our time or betting on a historic role for the “middle class”.
Serene but determined action will allow secularism to appear beyond the search for full autonomy of public authorities, both as a guarantee of pluralism and diversity, but also fundamentally as a refusal of discrimination, a demand for equal dignity and an approach to emancipation. It will then become a lived reality and can be a common value, even if the word is, for the moment, difficult to translate.
To act as citizens of Europe, is to want to decide collectively and democratically what we want to do with what history that has made of us, to start building something that looks like a future! The full text “Acting and deciding as citizens of Europe”