Dear Ladies and Gentlemen!
Thank you for your kind invitation to today’s seventh Conference on Global Citizen Education. Unfortunately, I cannot be with you in person. A meeting on the Securitisation-report, at which I am responsible for negotiations on behalf of the European People’s Party group, keeps me in Brussels. All the more I am happy, that thanks to our digitalised world, there is still a way to be with you this morning!
Let me first underline, how pleased I am that you are organising this event on social inclusion and safer cities. Today you will be discovering practical answers to crucial challenges on the pulse of our times.
There is no doubt: Globalisation is a fact. It has numerous effects on our societies and turns our world into a global village. We are getting more and more interdependent. Urbanization is one of the mega-trends of our century. Time zones, distances and language differences play an increasingly smaller role. At the same time, globalisation is a major driving force behind the world’s migratory movements of the future.
We see various opportunities of globalisation being confronted with various challenges: wars and terrorism, extremism and radicalisation, hybrid- and cyber threats, hunger, poverty, climate change or globally increasing number of refugees. These complex challenges do not stop at any borders. They just cannot be managed by one country alone and they require common action.
Therefore, I am convinced that we need to understand our European Union as part of common solutions and not as source of our problems. Our future is closely linked to the future of Europe. The question is not whether we want to accept globalisation or not. Much more, we need to answer how we want to deal with and shape globalisation – and our European Union as part of it.
Unilateral national action can never be an adequate solution to these most pressing challenges of our time. Nationalism and populism do not solve problems. They create problems and they weaken ourselves and our communities at the same time.
Whether it is on the political, economic, technological, intellectual or cultural level: In Europe we need to stand together to effectively contribute to a more peaceful and inclusive world. It is in our own interest to promote a rules-based global order with multilateralism as its key principle.
In this process, educating values and responsibilities, such as respect and tolerance, cultural diversity and global citizenship is getting increasingly important. And raising and discussing them ever more pressing.
This is why I am so pleased that you have gathered here today to jointly look for practical common answers to these – and many more questions.
Let me wish you a successful conference with many fruitful discussions to explore our common way forward!
All the best.
Mr. Othmar Karas, Member of the European Parliament