Renewing Europe’s culture of ‘moralpolitik’ will help guide the region’s leaders through future political, economic and social challenges, according to Thorbjørn Jagland.
In his address today at the start of the three-day Summer University, the Secretary General said Europe’s progress beyond ideological division was the result of “a historic moment in which realpolitik was defeated by moralpolitik.”
That spirit is still needed now, he declared, as the region confronts the impact of globalisation and grapples with the corruption, the abuses of power and the increasing movement of ideas, cultures and individuals.
“We need courageous political leaders who hold high ethical standards to balance and give direction in the public debate,” the Secretary General said.
“Human rights have been the most transformative forces in changing the world. When people scaled the Berlin wall they wanted freedom. When people in North Africa recently took to the streets they did the same. They wanted freedom.
“But freedom cannot exist without high ethical standards by those in power. Where there are no ethics in politics, there will most certainly be corruption, misuse of power and violence which defy basic human rights. Without ethics, human rights become empty phrases.”
The Secretary General added: “Let us remember that for the citizens where democracy has been in place for years, for the citizens where democracy is still in its youth, and for the citizens struggling to achieve democracy, we have all one single thing in common: that democracy must be won, it must be maintained and it must be developed.”
Speech: Thorbjørn Jagland – ‘Moralpolitik‘ in Europe
Video: Summer University Live!
Webfile: Ethics, transparency and politics:
Programme: Summer University