Opening Talk: Plea for open Europe

The European Tolerance Talks 2019 were ceremoniously opened in the Carinthian mountain village of Fresach on June 6th. In bright weather, numerous representatives of politics, economics and culture gathered in the Protestant church to hear the eagerly awaited opening speech of Italian linguist Maurizio Bettini on the roots and identity of Europeans. The university professor from Siena initiated the event with a flaming plea for an open Europe and against right isolation politics.

“Europe must today decide with determination for openness and intermingling, not for closure and imaginary purity, we need a tradition of equality, prudence, foresight, a tradition that gives our children and grandchildren freedom, equal rights and good citizens, makes good people,” said Bettini in his speech.

Europe is allowed to dream

Superintendent Manfred Sauer agreed, but still sees great challenges: “An open Europe is a beautiful dream, but we know that many still stick to the we-we-we-thinking instead of dreaming, we can believe that a better world is possible, we need lateral thinkers, dreamers and spinners, they must irritate us, but also inspire.”

In his speech, diocesan administrator Engelbert Guggenberger emphasized the importance of repeatedly striving for tolerance: “Tolerance is a demanding value: people are naturally not inclined to tolerance, but rather to the enforcement of their own will, so a life in tolerance is not without effort possible, it requires renunciation,” said Guggenberger. Only through others (strangers) people cam develop. The tolerance talks are a basis for thinking that contributes to this development.

Young people demand protection of their world

Hannes Swoboda, President of the Board of the European Tolerance Talks, called for more sustainability and environmental protection and insisted that today’s youth must inherit a livable world: “Europe, and especially regions such as Fresach, can serve as an example to the world how to regain ground and lead a sustainable life without having to emigrate. The youth can serve us as an important example, today young people demand that we hand over the world to them in a good condition. Europe belongs to those who manage it with care,” says Swoboda. (ws)

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