Europeiska värden i Sverige och Turkiet2008-03-27

Finns det europeiska värden? Ja, trots att det känns lite vanskligt att använda detta begrepp bör både Sverige och Turkiet lära sig vad det innebär.

Jag är idag inbjuden till Malmö för att den tala vid ett seminarium som arrangeras av Citizens without Boundaries - under rubriken: "European values in a global context
– perspectives from Turkey & Sweden"

I panelen: Mustafa Akyol, Ayşen Candaş Bilgen - och jag.

Plats: Malmö Stadsbibliotek, Gullbergrummet, Kung Oscars väg 12 kl 18 - här är min inledning:

" Dear friends

Thank you for inviting me to Malmö

I will try to give you a Swedish perspective - in an European context - on the topic of tody´s discussion

I would first of all like to say something about the concept of European values

Since European values are today often referred to when defining who are said NOT to be European and wich countries should NOT be let into the European Union

I would like to stress that I don´t think that there are specifically European Values values as such – only human och universal values

BUT - on the other hand

I do think that what we call European values are at least historically something specific

In my view they are linked to the painful lessons drawn by citizens and politicians and freedomfighters i Europe during the 20th century

They emerged during the struggle against Nazi oppression and occupation before, during and after the second world war in Western European countries

They mean something very valuble and tangible to people who struggled against facist oppression in Greece, Spain and Portugal and to those who opposed communist opperssion in the ten former communist countries in Eastern Europe

For all of these freedom fighters ”Europe” meant something

It meant freedom of speech and expression, the rule of law and democray for citizens

When weak European nation states were not strong enough to resist nazi, fascist and communist opperssion

Citizens therefore needed a set of principles helping them – and us – to avoid a repetition of the horrors of last century

Some basic guidelines for a civilized life and protection from state violence and oppression

These European values were drafted and transformed into a Convention in 1950

The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

But it actually took nearly half a century before Sweden incorporated this Convention into our legal system – it was done 1995

( Sweden ratified the Convention in 1950, but did not recognize the competence ot the European Court of Human rights in Strasbourg until later, in the 60ties

and when the Protocol to the Convention in 1953 was ratified Sweden had a reservation concerning article two

and parents rights to ensure their childers "education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions".)

And I think that part of the explanation to this late incorporation of the European Convention is that Sweden has had - and still has - a complicated relation to the concept European Values

And perhaps Sweden and Turkey are a bit alike in this respect

Both countries are strong nation states

With a great self esteem and no wish to obey others

And I see no reason for Sweden to deny or even be ashamed of this fact

Our history is different

As you all know Sweden was never occupied by Nazi troops

Our country was never ruled by a communist or a facist dictatorship

Most Swedish citizens and politicans therefore are a bit suspicious

They regard European values as something other countruies might need

But not Sweden

We don´t think we have anything to learn from other countries

And on this point - I think Sweden is wrong

I am convinced that we have a lot to learn from our neighbourghing countries

From other Europan countries with a less quite and calm history than ours

An exemple:

There has been and still is a rather naïve understanding of state power and state control in Sweden

This attitude can have severe consequences

It is not a coincidence that Sweden in the European Union has been in the front line pushing for new EU legislation concerning for exemple storage of information from cell phone communication

Sweden has taken the position that there are no big dangers in buildning up these gigant information systems as long as the aim is something good - to fight crime

I also think that Sweden should study Article 8 in the European Convention carefully:

”Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence”

Isn´t that an article and a principle we need today? I think so.

In this era of total coordination between different information systems, when individuals are controlled and observed from everywhere, Swedish authorities – and journalists – should remember that every human beeing has the right of a private sphere of his own

To conclude:

European values are in my view basic principles for open, democratic societies

Freedom of speech and expression, democray and the rule of law

Universal values of the inviolable rights of every human being

European - yes, because Europe knows almost all about what the consequences are when a society oppresses these principles

European – yes, because Europe – hopefully – have learnt the lessons from Nazi, Fascist and Communist dictatorship

European – yes, because European Convention for Protection of Human Rights is still a pretty good enough summary of these lessons drawn by European freedom fighters during the 20th century

( European – yes, in the sence that there is also a Court to wich individuals can complain when they feel that theirs rights have been infringed by the state in wich they live )

Sweden has still a lot to learn from it –

And I am convinced that Turkey also should be prepared to learn from others and to study the Convention carefully

Thank you