We, citizens of some European countries, are worried about the future of our continent. Europe‘s economic, social, political and cultural development are moving farther and farther away from what the people, not only in Europe, have hoped for since after the Second World War: Never again war and dictatorship, never again colonial exercise of power and exploitation; instead international understanding and international reconciliation, economic reconstruction and social justice – living in political freedom, cultural diversity and constitutional democracy.
The high level of debt in nearly all European countries, high unemployment rates, especially among young people, the creeping inflation, the weakening and thinning of the SMEs, numerous unresolved questions in connection with the millions of refugees from the Balkans, from Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan, the state’s disregard of civil and human rights and the increase in social and political tensions within and among the states in Europe are threatening prosperity, democracy and peace.
Political and economic crises are being misused to centralize the EU’s political power increasingly – at the expense of our sovereignty and liberties. Many citizens notice that there is no longer an honest dialogue with their political representatives. They realize that the rulers with their political decisions ignore the people. They also notice that via the mainstream media a certain feeling of weakness is artificially generated. Severe crises, continuously created anew are to divert from fundamental questions and from what is actually going on.
Side by side with the US and in an almost slave-like allegiance the governments of EU-states and NATO have been breaking international law for many years. We, citizens of Europe, sympathize with all fellow-humans and peoples who have suffered and are still suffering from that situation.
The War against Yugoslavia in 1999 was the Fall. Sanctions imposed on Austria in 2000 and lasting many months aimed at turning over a democratically elected government. In 2004, as well as in 2013 and 2014 the US, together with the EU, massively interferred in the internal affairs of the Ukraine and contributed to a war beeing waged in that region – in the heart of Europe. The treatment of Greece since 2010 is humiliating a whole people. A people, the ancestors of which lived in a country that has been the birthplace of European thought and cultural creation.
The first codified European law originated in Ancient Greece. Politicians of Ancient Greece recognized it as their duty and the duty of all men to stand up against injustice. Greek philosophers laid the foundations of scientific thinking; they struggled for answers to the basic questions of social and political ethics as well as for a systematic theory of education. In the fifth century before Christ, the Kos physician Hippocrates constituted the Medical Ethics, which, throughout the centuries, have had an essential formative influence on medical actions. Greece set standards in architecture and art of Europe, considering the human being the benchmark and thus stimulating developments that are still being drawn on today.
There were those Greeks who developed the basic principles of the European model states already 2,500 years ago: democracy, separation of powers and natural law. They demanded that government action must be measured by an ethic that is based on human nature – so that it would not degenerate into despotism and tyranny.
It was the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who said that in a just state money must not be a tool of power.
Whenever brute power politics wanted to enforce the “law of the jungle”, European history was led into the abyss of bitter confrontation and wars.
The acrid manner by which politics and media are again creating an atmosphere against individual countries and peoples today, brings back memories of past disasters on our continent. Given the world’s existing nuclear destructive potential, any incitement to military confrontation and war, as for instance acted out against Russia, represents sheer madness.
Europe’s history is a history of injustice and violence, but it is as well a history of overcoming the latter evils from its own moral insight and political strength. The Western and Christian humanist tradition has developed viable foundations for equality before the law, humaneness and respect for human dignity. Whenever in history these basics could wield their influence, human coexistence was peaceful, just and secure. This was often accompanied by general prosperity, social equity and cultural upswing.
Europe is characterized by a rich diversity of cultures and nations in a small space, from Crete to the North Cape, from Lisbon to Yekaterinburg. People across Europe have contributed much in all spheres of life in more than 2,500 years.
For the people’s coexistence in peace and freedom, the development of law and right towards ever greater justice was of fundamental importance for Europe and the world.
Europe has significantly contributed to the fact that human rights and the principles of international law are today guaranteed in international agreements (Charter of the United Nations, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) and in national constitutions.
Good faith must be the basis of all human coexistence and political activity again. Without this principle, there is no confidence in agreements within and between the states, and the floodgates are open to arbitrariness. Control mechanisms (such as “governance”) and manipulation techniques of all kinds, which aim at influencing people by the abuse of psychological methods without full and open information, deprive the citizens of the possibility of independently forming their opinion. Thus they violate the dignity of the person and destroy the basis of political dialogue and the legal system.
People are capable, with their reason and their empathy, to recognize the necessary fundamental orientation of a moral and political action, to think and feel in a humane and social way, and to learn to act accordingly. This is the disposition embedded in the human heart. Guided by reason and conscience, these fundamental orientations are intended to form the basis of the whole of the moral, legal and political determinations that guide the life of man and society. They guarantee the dignity of the human person in the face of transitory ideologies.
We will not surrender what has been recognized as right and what is considered to be right; because:
Adopted by the about 300 participants of the XXIII International Conference “Mut zur Ethik” which was devoted to the topic of “Freedom, Sovereignty and Human Dignity – A Safeguard against Despotism and War” and took place in Switzerland from 4 to 6 September 2015. Among the participants were the following speakers from Switzerland and abroad:
© “Mut zur Ethik”
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