Cultural tolerance 'is not enough,' says EU culture commissioner

4th January 2008, Comments 25 comments

Tolerance of different cultures is no longer enough: Europeans should create an "inter-cultural society" in which interaction across cultural boundaries is the norm, the European Union's top cultural official said.

4 January 2007

Brussels (dpa) - Tolerance of different cultures is no longer enough: Europeans should create an "inter-cultural society" in which interaction across cultural boundaries is the norm, the European Union's top cultural official said Friday.

"We want to go beyond multi-cultural societies, where cultures and cultural groups simply coexist side by side: mere tolerance is not enough any more," the EU's Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, Jan Figel, said ahead of the official launch of the European Year of Inter-cultural Dialogue 2008.

"We need to give an impulse for a true metamorphosis in our societies, so that we can create an inter-cultural Europe where cultures exchange and interact constructively," he said.

On Tuesday, top EU officials are set to launch the Year of Inter- cultural Dialogue at a ceremony in Slovenia, the country which currently holds the EU's six-month rotating presidency.

European officials have already announced events across the 27- member bloc aimed at getting different national, linguistic, religious and other groups to listen to one another.

Seven cross-border projects are set to include artistic shows and discussions on hip-hop culture, video workshops for young people, radio broadcasts on migration in European history, and meetings between storytellers, artists, musicians and primary school children.

They are to be backed by national programmes ranging from a school essay competition in Latvia to a week-long festival examining the relationship between education and cultural dialogue in Germany.

And they are to be promoted by 15 leading figures of European culture ranging from Serbian pop star and Eurovision Song Contest winner Marija Serifovic to Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, and from German-educated Turkish pianist Fazil Say to Polish journalist and Solidarity activist Adam Michnik.

Their combined activities "will emphasize the interaction of cultures, deepening of relations between nationalities and religions, and promoting through dialogue a strengthening of understanding, tolerance, solidarity and a sense of common destiny among EU citizens from all walks of life," an EU press release proclaimed.

According to a survey published in December, two-thirds of Europeans interact with at least one person from a different culture each day, and over 70 per cent think these contacts are positive.

But conflict between ethnic or religious groups still continues to bedevil many states, with suburban riots in France, political deadlock in Belgium, unrest in the Balkans and the fear of Islamist terrorism in many states all making the headlines in 2007.

Indeed Belgium, uniquely in the EU, has not even launched a national programme for inter-cultural dialogue this year: its three main language groups have each launched their own programmes without apparent reference to one another.

And with religious discord and ethnic tension hot topics on the political agenda, EU officials are likely to have their work cut out for them if they wish to forge a new society in Europe this year.

25 Comments To This Article

  • SAS posted:

    on 27th September 2009, 16:16:55 - Reply

    There is no reason for this post to become a lightening rod for European intolerance, the post calls for co-existence with ALL cultures, including that of immigrants, but not exclusively immigrants.
  • Peter posted:

    on 3rd April 2008, 13:11:10 - Reply

    I agree.
  • Drider posted:

    on 8th January 2008, 16:04:24 - Reply

    2 dogs, what other countries do you travel to wearing your normal clothes (Im curious about your clothes) where you worry about life and limb?

    I have to admit that being I am from the states that I am a bit uniformed on whats going on throught the EU being information is kept very close to the vest in a number of countries in that region.
    Here are a few things that seem to get through to us in the states,usually from citizens within the EU.

    1.There are now no go zones whithin the UK for non muslim people.

    2.Mohammad is the second most popular name for newborns within the UK.

    3.Bloggers are arrested for simply stating thier views on Islam.

    4.Anti semitism has reached an all time high throught much of Europe.

    5.In certain European countries, peaceful protesters (including government officials) are arrested and/or denied thier right to protest.

    6.French citizens can no longer take photographs of rioters....This simple right is reserved for "professional" photographers.

    7.In Denmark (I believe) muslims riot with little or no restraint after a young muslim is killed while trying to stab a female police officer to death.

    The list goes on and on.

    Im curious if anyone in any country on the face of the planet could coexist with two drastically different legal systems, like Paris under western laws of freedom and democracy and the outer environs sharia...could you just imagine....same deal for Mecca for that matter, but then again Mecca isnt even "thinking" about changing thier culture one ioda, then again it's Saudi Arabia.

    And yes, I have a sneaking suspicion that some of these brilliant EU leaders would love to do just that in trying to cowtow to these Islamists....Give them thier sharia law....within EU borders while at the same time trying to retain western rule of law for the rest of the citizenry in the name of ultra culturism.
    Now lets think about that for a minute...Sharia law aside from it being primative and barbaric by western standards, is also a fondation of Islam which, once again, touts muslims as superior....not equal but superior to non muslims (kafir/infidels)....It is written and followed by many that infidels must pay a "tax" or be eliminated all together for the crime of not following Islam......Now how will these muslims with thier newfound sharia law, living in say Britain feel when thier financial situation does not drasticaly change...when there are infidels running around in the western law zones who have more than "some" of the muslims....This is an afront to God and would need to change....Enter another EU leader with another bright idea...the Sharia tax, in the name of peace and ultra-culturism....exit more European freedoms/wealth and culture.

    I know it sounds surreal and far fetched....I do....It's right around the corner.
  • 2 dogs posted:

    on 8th January 2008, 12:56:01 - Reply

    I, too, am in accord with everybodys thougts. Only when I can freely and safely travel to other countries without fear of my life or limb, in the clothes I normally wear, will I listen to some uninformed person telling me about "cultural tolerance".
  • jack fulcher posted:

    on 7th January 2008, 17:44:50 - Reply

    I am so so so glad I don't live in Europe.
  • Drider posted:

    on 7th January 2008, 17:15:03 - Reply

    Thogwummpy, Your ecactly right.

    The aim is not to indoctrinate immigrants into European society but to create a new society with the "thinking" that it will become a peaceful coexistance between Islam, which is in itself a political ideology based in a ridgid non-bending religious belief in that you either are a believer or your less than human,meant to be oppressed and brutalized until you either follow Islam in it's entirety or die.
    The travesty of this whole deal is simple....Indocrtination "into" the European culture for those who migrate there....NOT the other way around, and for those who refuse to live according to Euro culture's are booted out.

    It seems that the leaders intend to set the deal up to where one completley different culture will have no option....NONE.... but to vie for dominance over the host countries culture....Islam cannot tolerate anything but Islam, which is no problem throughout the Mid East region but in European contries....BIG PROBLEM.

    At that point the tolerant(no such thing as moderate muslims) muslims will have no problem folding into Sharia law which will end up taking over the host countries culture.

    They will breed you out and scare you out, there is an abundance of evidence showing that this is taking place....The reaction of European leaders in trying to quell this rising tide is weak, submissive and lethal.
  • Thogwummpy posted:

    on 7th January 2008, 16:01:55 - Reply

    Here's the underlying aim of multi-culturalism: Let's disolve our own culture, to accomodate cultures that wish to destroy ours; so Neo-lib elitists can thump their chests about how righteously superior they are than the rest of us. A house divided, can not stand, division is NOT strength!
  • Sam posted:

    on 7th January 2008, 10:56:39 - Reply

    This is the EU version of a deathblow for Western Civilization as Hitler's Final Solution was for the Jews.

    With a great deal of struggle and steadfast hearts this too can be stopped, but perhaps not without similar casualties in the end. Start now or it will only be harder later.

    Good luck to Europe, and the UK.
  • steve posted:

    on 7th January 2008, 04:43:17 - Reply

    hahahahahahahahaha(breath)hahahahahahahahahahah(breath)hahahahahahahahahahahaha. OOPS! Looks like somebody in Eurpe didnt tell the DEATH CULT they gotta follow the rules.
  • deadbackpacker posted:

    on 7th January 2008, 03:33:47 - Reply

    Ahhhhh, Stalin and Mao would be so proud.
  • Harry Schell posted:

    on 7th January 2008, 00:57:03 - Reply

    Well, this is fine as long as the Islamic enclaves in Europe allow anyone, and I mean anyone of any faith, with or without burka, to enter their "space" without challenge, much less violence. Sharia law among themselves, but none of this infidel silliness.

    I don't think this is what the Commissioner has in mmind, but for now, as I am in the US, I don't care.

    As a side note, you better get ready to fend for yourselves. It is unlikely we will land in Normandy or anywhere else to pull you out of the dung again. We did our bit in Iraq, with your general disapproval. Fine then, you asked for what you have, you fix it.
  • elixelx posted:

    on 7th January 2008, 00:15:11 - Reply

    You mean like Muslim men carrying off European women, and Muslim women being killed if they look at ANY man?
    Oh! That kind of post-culturalism!
  • Lugundum posted:

    on 7th January 2008, 00:11:18 - Reply

    Those people like Figel aren't living on this planet. So we have got riots in Britain, France and the Netherlands and many brutal violent incidents in Germany and Austria. The whole Europe is like a barrel of gun powder now and they are bragging about multicultural society. Unbelievable.
  • Wookieelips posted:

    on 7th January 2008, 00:00:26 - Reply

    Reading these comments gives mehope. At least people aren't falling for this crap.
  • USBeast posted:

    on 6th January 2008, 23:55:30 - Reply

    Is being barking mad a requirement for E.U. officials?
  • Clioman posted:

    on 6th January 2008, 23:38:35 - Reply

    Obviously this fool hasn't had his car torched yet.
  • whammer posted:

    on 6th January 2008, 23:17:36 - Reply

    Is there anything more likely to end up on the garbage pile of history than that?
  • BL@KBIRD posted:

    on 6th January 2008, 22:48:06 - Reply

    It is painful to watch Euro dhimmies flailing about trying to appease Islam in this awkward transition phase from western to Muslim rule in Europe.

    Relax, ask for Muslim handlers to show you the way to please Muslims and Allah.
  • Annie B posted:

    on 6th January 2008, 22:26:40 - Reply

    How come only Europe is supposed to me 'multicultural'?

    (Oh - and maybe the offspring nations that are also Western culture.)

    How come Saudi Arabia or Iran aren't going to be doing THEIR 'outreach' about the wonders of OUR cultures?
  • Drider posted:

    on 6th January 2008, 22:19:00 - Reply

    No Daniel, this is NOT what Osama wants nor is it what the islamists want.

    They want Sharia Law in it's purest form "everywhere", and if you give an inch of the culture that you should be "PROUD" of they will take a mile.
    This is obvious......cowards of the highest order who have no honor, no dignity and no sense of worth who are leading (apperantly) what was once a fine civilization back to the dark ages.

    In the end the EU in it's whole, will be nothing more than yet another radical Islamist countrty/countries with nukes.
  • Eyes Wide open posted:

    on 6th January 2008, 21:52:11 - Reply

    This guy is the dhmminni of the year so far. Checkout islamonline. The have a nice little poem on how to behead. I for one am not going to try to tolerate a so called "religion" that sanctifies evil in the name of Allah Don't lose your head people.
  • Mark Jaeger posted:

    on 6th January 2008, 21:45:24 - Reply

    This sounds (and smells) like a totalitarian "New Man" program.

    The National Socialists and Communists never really went away. They just put on designer suits, moved to Brussels, and assumed important-sounding titles like, "Intercultural Consultant."
  • Daniel posted:

    on 6th January 2008, 21:41:24 - Reply

    Of course, we should listen to what the EU has to say; this is, after all, what Osama Bin-Laden wants, too! The fact that this world the EU and OBL want us to be a part of looks very similar to what Saudi Arabia looks like now, is wholly superflous...
  • Brendan posted:

    on 6th January 2008, 21:31:05 - Reply

    wouldn't this essentially be a melting pot? Like what we have in America but which multiculturalism repeatedly challenges.
  • orivs brothers posted:

    on 6th January 2008, 21:21:28 - Reply

    this is about the silliest thing i've heard in days!!! better the diversity than the robot face!!!
    first you submit to a prefrontal lobotomy administered by someone with a chain saw (preferably electric so that you do not pollute the room with petrol fumes).
    then you invite figal to lunch
    then you blow groceries
    but that is not tolerant?