“Difference is the very essence of humanity. “ It is by quoting John Hume, Irish MEP and Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1998, who died in August, that the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, introduced on Wednesday September 16, in her first speech on the State of the Union before the European Parliament, a plea in favor of diversity.
“We ask ourselves where is the essence of humanity”
“When we look around us, we wonder where the essence of humanity is when three children from Wisconsin see their father being bullied by the police (…). We wonder where is the essence of humanity when citizens dressed in anti-Semitic costumes openly parade on the occasion of the carnival? Where is the essence of humanity when every day Roma are excluded from society and other people are pushed away simply because of their skin color or religious beliefs? “, asked Ursula von der Leyen, strongly denouncing racism and police violence and pointing the finger at the abuses that made the carnival in Aalst, Belgium sadly famous.
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Recalling his “Pride” to live in Europe, “This open society, based on values and promoting diversity”, Ursula von der Leyen did not hide that “Progress in the fight against racism and hatred is fragile”, and “Progress is hard won, but very easily lost”.
An “action plan against racism”
Thus, to allow further progress, Ursula von der Leyen announced a “Action plan against racism”. In mid-June, when the European Parliament debated police violence following anti-racist protests in the United States and Europe, she had already called for ” Face reality, be realistic “ : racism is indeed present in the European Union (EU). One concrete measure expected is to extend the list of offenses under EU law to all forms of hate crime and hate speech, “Whether they are based on race, religion, gender or sexuality”, said Ursula von der Leyen at the end of her speech.
On the roof of Europe, Ursula von der Leyen must give a horizon
The former minister responsible for social affairs across the Rhine also firmly defended the rights of people from the LGBTQI community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex people), within a “Union in which you can be who you are and love whoever you want, without fear of recrimination or discrimination”. To his eyes, “” LGBTQI-free zones “are zones without humanity, and they have no place in our Union”.
The attack on Poland, where such zones have been declared in certain localities, is hardly veiled. “In order to ensure that we support the whole community, the Commission will soon come up with a strategy to strengthen LGBTQI rights”, promised Ursula von der Leyen, before pleading in favor of strengthening the rights of same-sex couples, thanks to the mutual recognition of family relations in the EU. “If you are a parent in one country, you are a parent in all countries”, she said.