Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2001-12-12-Speech-3-231"

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"The most important exception to general human progress is the inability to prevent violent conflicts. Science has reached unknown heights, we are undergoing a communication revolution and erstwhile impenetrable problems can now be solved, but the world is no safer for it. Impressive speeches this morning by the Sakharov prize-winners have allowed us to share in the immense grief and also the moral strength of these victims of senseless violence. There is little hope as long as tolerance is regarded as treason and the eye-for-an-eye principle leads to blindness, as is the case in the Middle East and Angola. There is only hope if we actually tackle the injustices, and if tolerance, mutual understanding and intense dialogue all over the world become the leading principles. After the economy and science, it is now the turn of moral values to make progress. In the nineties, some five and a half million people died in 100 armed conflicts and many times more people were driven out of their homes. In many countries, the war efforts thwart any form of economic and social development. Since 11 September, the Americans have come to realise that our responsibility does not stop at our own borders or the countries that are of strategic importance to us. Not only economies are interconnected worldwide, but so too is human suffering. We are gaining an increasing insight into the deeper causes of violent conflicts; something which both the Commission and Mr Lagendijk have borne witness to. These include the unjust distribution of welfare, religious and ethnic contrasts, a lack of democracy and bad governance. Solving these structural problems is both crucial and difficult. Better structures must prevent political leaders from indulging in their unbridled hunger for power and wealth undisturbed. Time and again, it is the masses that are the victims in the struggle for power of which they themselves form no part. For the first time, our generations experience large-scale contact between civilisations, cultures and religions, and this is bound to lead to a lack of understanding and intolerance initially. The cause of this is that cultures and religions take their own values and standards too much for granted. However, believers all over the world not only believe, they know for certain. And if faith becomes an element in ones own dissatisfaction, this can easily lead to disastrous extremism. The effective management of conflict prevention and globalisation of value systems is the greatest challenge of this time, and Europe must, in tandem with the United States – that is very important – adopt a strategy which tackles these conflicts at the root. If the European Union wishes to strengthen its conflict-preventing role, also in the light of Cotonou, it must be adequately equipped. Resistance in many governments to reinforcing the Commission and its delegations is pernicious for the effective implementation of European policy."@en1

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