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House of Studies

Towards a Vision of Europe - The European House

66. Recently, the thinking about Europe's future has been stimulated by the image of a common European house. How realistic is this vision, on a continent which has been divided for so long and in so many ways? The vision of the common house reminds us that all people and states in Europe share common foundations, in their history, their cultural heritage, their values. Also, it reminds us that "Europe" should not be identified with only a part of Europe. In a common house there are common responsibilities. It is not acceptable that some of its parts are in deterioration, while others shine in luxury. In a common house, life is guided by the spirit of cooperation, not confrontation. It is also important that the vision of a common European house implies criticism of all walls, barriers and ditches which make communication impossible.

67. The image expresses that we must learn to live with many people on a small continent. There is limited space, resources are scarce. Some basic "house rules" are needed to make this possible. Such rules would include:

  • The principle of equality of all who live there, whether strong or weak.
  • The recognition of such values as freedom, justice, tolerance, solidarity, participation.
  • A positive attitude towards adherents of different religions, cultures and world views.
  • Open doors, open windows: in other words: many personal contacts; exchange of ideas; Dialogue instead of resolving conflicts through violence.

68. The European house should be an "open house", a place of refuge and protection, a place of welcome, a place of hospitality where guests are not discriminated against but treated as members of the family. In this house nobody should fear to speak the truth. Within the European house, those who live there should work against the inequalities of rich and poor within Europe, against the division of North and South within Europe, of discriminatory treatment of non-citizens, of the injustice of mass unemployment, of the neglect of youth and the abandonment of the elderly. The "daily bread" should be fairly shared among all persons.


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