The first Mataró-Europe Values ​​Forum confirms the difficulties of the European project but sees it possible to overcome them

The words of the journalist Cristina Gallach at the Mataró-Europe Values ​​Forum could serve as a summary of the main ideas launched in this day held on May 13 at the TecnoCampus: “These are times of many changes and yes, the values ​​of the Union European Union are questioned.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
15 May 2024 Wednesday 17:03
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The first Mataró-Europe Values ​​Forum confirms the difficulties of the European project but sees it possible to overcome them

The words of the journalist Cristina Gallach at the Mataró-Europe Values ​​Forum could serve as a summary of the main ideas launched in this day held on May 13 at the TecnoCampus: “These are times of many changes and yes, the values ​​of the Union European Union are questioned. Therefore, we have difficulties. But we can fight them.”

Gallach, a journalist who has held positions of responsibility in the EU, NATO and the UN, was one of the three participants in the round table that focused this first edition of the forum, held shortly after Europe Day and close to the elections. European elections in June. The event is promoted by Valors magazine together with TecnoCampus, with the support of Pous Grup and Alianza Mataró.

A hundred people attended this new event that seeks to reinforce reflection on the major issues on the European agenda and do so from municipalism. The other two participants in the round table moderated by the journalist Carles Prats were the former minister and engineer Joan Majó, who has advised the European Commission in different forums throughout his professional career, and Eduardo Javier Ruiz Vieytez, dean of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences at the University of Deusto (Basque Country), where he has been director of the Institute of Human Rights for fifteen years.

In line with Gallach, Majó stated that “there is a moment of difficulty, but we are the part of the world with the most solid value and democratic structures.” For his part, Ruiz Vieytez admitted: "We have made a lot of progress, but there are some aspects in which we are much further behind than we thought."

One of the questions that hovered over the day is the persistence or not (and for what reason) of the founding values ​​of the European Union. In this sense, Majó assured: ”Europe is still because the latest enlargements have brought problems: we have integrated countries with quite different values. With the expansions, there are difficulties in seeing how we can combine the necessary unity with respect for diversity."

For his part, Eduardo Javier Ruiz Vieytez commented that "of the founding values ​​of the EU, some are in better health than others" and bringing it to the present day, he noted: "I am not so convinced that we have our values ​​as assumed as we say." . We focus a lot [the dissolution of these values] on the extreme right, but I would like to know what voters think of the other parties." In fact, he demanded a greater degree of coherence from citizens: ”The European model has two problems: the demographic problem and that solidarity ends at the border. "We are willing to pay taxes to help the people of Cádiz for whom things are going badly, but not in Bordeaux and much less in Tangier."

For his part, Gallach recognized that Europe's values ​​are "more eroded every day" and referred to the difficulties that European partners are encountering in responding to the two wars that are close to us, the one in Ukraine and the one in Gaza. “Very intense diplomatic work must be done,” he remarked. Before the June 9 elections, Gallach drew attention to a hypothesis that has not materialized so far: "In the next legislature, we could find ourselves with a college of commissioners with 6 or 7 extreme-right commissioners."

Joan Majó, who also speaks in the special issue on Europe published by Valors this May, called for a much more relevant role for the European Union in the global context: "We must unify, especially in foreign policy: we cannot go to the same UN with 27 voices. “There must be a European voice.” To do this, he called for adding new members to the pan-European organization: "If we do not make enlargements, Europe disappears and none of the European states have anything to do with the world." He also recalled that "more people live in the EU than in the United States and it has a larger GDP, but it does not have the unity of the US."

In relation to this, Gallach wanted to underline how the world has changed since the European Union was created, formally in 1993: ”When Delors led the EU, the GDP of China and India combined was 4% globally, now it is 26%. %. “They are totally different worlds.” And he also advocated continuing with the dynamic of enlargement to new members, despite the doubts that this may cause: ”It is now 20 years since the great enlargement, prepared by Jacques Delors. An expansion that has made us bigger, stronger and more diverse. Obviously it is more complex to manage a family of 27 than of 15.” He also warned in relation to the next enlargement, scheduled for 2030, that it should welcome the countries of the Western Balkans that are not yet members of the EU such as Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Montenegro, as well as Ukraine, Moldova and perhaps Georgia: ”This one will be much tougher because there is Russia” at its side.

Among those attending the event were the former mayors of Mataró Manuel Mas and Joan Mora, as well as the current mayor and president of TecnoCampus, David Bote. Furthermore, one of the speakers was Joan Majó, who served as mayor of the capital of Maresme from 1979 to 1982, so the event brought together four of the five living mayors that the city has had in the 45 years of democratic restoration. In addition, the former president of the Generalitat Jordi Pujol also attended the event, in his capacity as a subscriber to the magazine since its inception.

The closing of the event was led by the general director of TecnoCampus, Josep Lluís Checa, who highlighted the launch of this forum as a result of the desire to create spaces for debate in which the city's technology and university park participates as a promoter. .