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Meeting the Challenge of Cultural Diversity in Europe

Moving Beyond the Crisis

Robin Wilson

Europe has talked itself into a refugee and security crisis. There is, however, a misrecognition of the real challenge facing Europe: the challenge of managing the relationship between Europeans and the currently stigmatized ‘others’ which it has attracted. Making the case against a ‘Europe of walls’, Robin Wilson instead proposes a refounding of Europe built on the power of diversity and an ethos of hospitality rather than an institutional thicket serving the market.
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Chapter 6: Europe’s moral conscience: the Council of Europe takes the stage

Robin Wilson


The EU could have been the vehicle for the articulation of a new paradigm for the management of cultural diversity. But not only have its ordo-liberal economic policies exacerbated the challenge but, more generally, the EU as an institution primarily concerned since its establishment with market liberalization has not been best placed to address this fundamentally ethical concern. Much better has been the more longstanding and larger Council of Europe, established in 1949 to say ‘never again’ to aggressive nationalism, anti-Semitism and all forms of intolerance through promotion of the universal norms of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. These norms are underpinned by the principle of equality of human dignity, intrinsic to humane relationships between the Self and Other. Worryingly, however, support for these norms has been atrophying in recent decades.

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