Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-05-09-Speech-3-109"

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". Mr President, I think that Mr Rocard’s report is fairly commendable: it emphasises the fact that the Union’s role is to encourage and engage with the attempts at reform in the Arab countries. This role requires active inter-cultural dialogue. We have to give our attention to what the dialogue should be based on. The report says ‘inter-cultural dialogue can only be revived through the affirmation of a common and universal basis of human values which transcends dogmas and Community allegiances’. This should not be understood as a purely secularist basis, which might indeed increase cultural tensions. A liberalised society exhibits a mix of two ways of thinking: ethical pluralism and cultural relativism, which could be called secularist relativism. Whereas relativism is based on the assumption that there is no religious truth, the pluralistic approach is just that we can reach consensus on this through reasonable means. Relativism therefore means that value and belief systems have not been left out of political decisions entirely. Pluralism, on the other hand, aims for dialogue on values and means that different value and belief systems need to be understood when decisions are being taken, for the simple reason that they are an important part of people’s lives. It has to be realised that dialogue along these lines makes not just understanding and interaction, but also criticism, possible. Relativism in fact leads to an increase in tension because it evades the difficult issues and passes over them. Pluralism can help ease tension as it is fundamentally to do with taking account of human values and their differences. Religion is not necessarily what causes tension, which is to say a problem. It can also be part of the solution."@en1

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