On the 30th of September, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation gave the yearly Abel Herzberg speech, addressing the refugee crisis and the European Union’s plans to help, among other things.
In her speech, Minister Sigrid Kaag states that "the European Union is different. It is a new, independent unit. It's a community of law, a fusion of sovereignties- a new, larger, sovereign unit." She declares that European law takes precedence over national law. She also asserts that unification and cohesive action is an ongoing process that is always dynamic.
The ever-closer observance of fundamental human rights in the law of the Union and the links with the European Convention on Human Rights mean that European citizens must be protected against the arbitrariness of their governments. Against marginalization of minorities. Because protecting the minority against the tyranny of the majority is the genius of the post-war structure of our European society. Our citizenship and our freedoms are also anchored at European level.
When it comes to taking a position against anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and racism. The minister proposes to fight against all ideas that do not encourage the idea of unification.
The following is an extract from Minister Sigrid Kaag’s speech which is especially inspiring and motivating:
“I believe in the power of international cooperation. The European Union is an expression of ideals, courage and vision. Europe is also a community of fate. I believe in the international and European order that we have built up in the aftermath of the Second World War. Reform? Yes. Degradation? No. Privilege I was born in 1961 in Rijswijk. I am Dutch. I am European. A privilege that I have nothing to thank. Talent, ambition, hard work, it has nothing to do with it. The enormity of the privilege is no less. We live in a beautiful country. Not because the Netherlands is rich. But because the Netherlands is free. With a strong democratic legal order. What are the basic values of all of us. Where people are equal before the law. In which everyone can express themselves freely. A country with freedom of religion. Where judges judge independently. Where we respect differences between people. Where we carefully deal with the rights of minorities. These are the foundations of our democracy and our rule of law. As I just said, these are not self-evident. And require daily maintenance.”
In her speech, the minister acknowledges Johnny de Mol as she recalls the night she met him at the Movement Hotel. To learn more about our pop-up project, the Movement Hotel, click here.
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