13th Apr 2024

Frattini promotes intercultural dialogue against radicalisation

Justice commissioner Franco Frattini has said Europe should not fear Muslim immigration to the bloc and promoted children and education as the best ambassadors for understanding between different cultures in Europe.

"With dialogue we can eradicate abuse of religion and culture" the Italian commissioner told a conference dealing with the impact of migration on the co-existence between different cultures in Europe, held in Brussels on Wednesday (5 March).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The debate was the first of six planned gatherings on intercultural dialogue that will be organized throughout 2008, with each debate taking a specific sectoral view on intercultural dialogue, such as media, arts and heritage, the workplace, inter-religious dialogue, education and youth, migration and integration.

Mr Frattini said his institution had already put forward a package of measures to make integration of migrants in the EU run more smoothly, such as an EU integration fund.

The commissioner also explained his view on fears of a future clash between the Muslim world and the West.

"There is no ongoing clash, there is perhaps a struggle between those who believe in freedom of religion but still understand the freedom of others, and those who interpret Islam wrongly and believe that only one religion should prevail", Mr Frattini stated, adding that tolerance and dialogue does not mean giving in to unlawful practices.

"We do not need to tolerate all foreigners. We cannot accept those who put in question the absolute value of human life, or the equality of men and women. I cannot tolerate the violation of individual rights", Frattini stated.

The commissioner also said that children were crucial to promoting fundamental values across the EU, and that education plays an important role in stopping radicalisation which leads to extremism and occasionally to terrorism.

According to a report from the Brussels-based Migration Policy Group think tank and the British Council from October last year, the bloc is not doing enough to integrate immigrants from outside Europe. In the report, EU countries rank as only "half way to best practice" for integrating immigrants into the national societies.

The report assessed immigrants' chances of participating in European societies by looking at areas such as labour market access; family reunion; long-term residence; political participation and protection from racism and discrimination.

I am not a foreigner

But members of a round-table discussion on migration and dialogue, said some of the words used by Mr Frattini signal exclusion rather than inclusion of non-ethnic Europeans into a European context of dialogue and mutual understanding.

"I would like to use the word ‘mobility' instead of ‘migration', and the word ‘cooperation' instead of ‘dialogue'" said Bashy Quraishy, chair of the advisory council of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR).

Mr Bashy said that even if he was in favour of dialogue, previous attempts to create fruitful dialogue has resulted only in a monologue where the majority tells the minority to change.

"Minorities do not have the power to ask for a dialogue based on mutual understanding. The majority has the key to the front door, not the minority", said Mr Bashy, a Danish resident since for over 25 years.

"The commissioner referred to us as ‘foreigners'. We are not foreigners, we are European", he added, and was echoed by Brussels-based but Pakistani-born journalist and moderator of the debate, Shada Islam.

"I am Pakistani and European," Ms Islam underlined.

Europe has forgotten its emigration past, says EU cultural ambassador

Every year thousands of Africans put their lives into the hands of unscrupulous traffickers and crowd onto unsafe fishing boats to try to reach Europe across stormy waters. All along our coastlines their drowned bodies drift ashore. Is this a decent Europe, award-winning Swedish writer Henning Mankell asks.

EU launches campaign for intercultural dialogue

To foster better understanding and communication between the diverse crowd that makes up European citizens, Brussels has launched a media campaign about its forthcoming "Year of intercultural Dialogue."

Anti-racism NGOs say intercultural dialogue money not well spent

European anti-racism NGOs have criticised the European Commission for giving money to activities during the European year of intercultural dialogue to EU governments, rather than to those who work directly to help minority communities.

UK-EU deal on Gibraltar only 'weeks away'

EU and UK negotiators said that a new post-Brexit settlement for Gibraltar was just weeks away from completion following four-way talks in Brussels on Friday (12 April).


Calling time on Amazon's monopolism and exploitation

As Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos just reclaimed the title of the richest person on Earth, its workers cannot even take a bathroom break under the pressure of meeting inhumane performance targets.

Latest News

  1. UK-EU deal on Gibraltar only 'weeks away'
  2. Belgium declares war on MEPs who took Russian 'cash'
  3. Brussels Dispatches: Foreign interference in the spotlight
  4. Calling time on Amazon's monopolism and exploitation
  5. Resist backlash on deforestation law, green groups tell EU
  6. China's high-quality development brings opportunities to the world
  7. Ukraine tops aid list again, but EU spending slumps
  8. Who did Russia pay? MEPs urge spies to give names

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us