Values and interests in Europe.

The European Union is undergoing a period of reforms. As in the past, the practical steps are influenced by the different worldviews of the decisionmakers. Some of them see the EU as a community of democratic values, deeply rooted in the vision of her founding fathers. Others think of the Union as a bloc – a zone of free trade and they want as little influence of the European institutions on political, as well as constitutional issues of the member states as possible. Can one of those options prevail for good? The participants of the plenary session “A Europe of common values or a Europe of common interests” tried to face the question during the second day of Econimic Forum in Krynica. Participants: Piotr Gliński, Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Peter Szijjarto, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, Micaela Navarro Garzon, Vice-President of the Congress of Deputies (Spain) and Jarosław Oleszczuk, President of Astra Zeneca Pharma Poland. The debate was hosted by Euronews Poland journalist, Sergio Cantone.


At the beginning of the debate, Piotr Gliński suggested that the alternative presented in the title of the session should be modified:

The subject of our debate is a false dilemma, the founding fathers did not distinguish these concepts either. We should consider what values should be understood as common and what interests. These two matters are inextricably linked.

Participants in the session seemed to agree that we are currently experiencing a crisis of values and interests in Europe. A large part of the conversation was devoted to this problem. Peter Szijjarto claimed that Europe should strive to rebuild Christian values, because they made the EU strong in the past centuries.

Above all, a strong Union means strong member states. The trend towards federalism will destroy the power of Europe. Dialog in the continent should be freed from hypocrisy, political correctness and the application of double standards – said Hungarian Minister.

Jarosław Oleszczuk compared the European Union to a large company in which everyone must finally find a common ground. The president of Astra Zeneca Pharma Poland expressed his opinions from the perspective of a doctor for whom health should be the most important value of Europe. He referred to the migration of society in search of work.

The EU should determine, which specialists are missing in which countries. You need to identify those gaps because the boundaries no longer matter when it comes to medical help.

Minister Gliński referred to the problem of immigration, which according to him constitute one of the main dimension of the division of Europe:

They accuse us of being immoral because we do not want to accept migrants, but we have a different solution for that. At the moment we can see that we were right and not the countries that have opened for not only refugees but also economic migrants. The political elites of Europe will never understand our perspectives – predicted the minister.

Micaela Navarro Garzon disagreed with the Polish deputy prime minister, claiming that no country in the world would ever want to open up to migrants entirely. She also reminded that Poland also has a large percentage of people leaving for a better life abroad. The president of the Congress of Deputies in Spain added that Member States should act on the terms they agreed upon when joining the Union.


The last part of the debate was devoted to the question “how to make the EU stronger?” Representatives of Hungary and Poland agreed that the key to success is to leave decision-making to citizens of individual countries.