Last week Leonidas Donskis was invited to be a speaker at the conference on the rise of extremism and populism in the European Union, which was organised by his political Group in the European Parliament - the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). The chair of the Group, MEP and former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt was encouraged to organise these discussions as a response to the increasingly amplifying manifestations of extremism and populism, as well as the growing strength of extreme right forces in EU countries, which he described as a spreading virus in Europe.
According to him, radical forces seek support by exploiting fears and tensions arising from various contemporary processes, namely globalisation, climate change, immigration in the EU. Hence, claims G. Verhofstadt, it is essential to remain vigilant and fight these dangerous tendencies by encouraging an open society in Europe, and by transforming globalisation into a positive rather than negative conception by developing a humane and sustainable migration policy.
Leonidas Donskis wrote more extensively about the discussions that took place and ideas that were born during this event in his notes in the news portal Alfa.lt. During this month’s virtual discussion we invite you to express your opinion as well. In your opinion, will Europe succeed in learning to live in a world which is physically close to us but hugely diverse, a world which is set to not fundamentally change, at least in the near future? Is there really a necessity to change terminology by renouncing such expressions as: foreigner, minorities, words which are used in contrast to “our own”? Or should new terminology be used to a larger extent, symbolising inclusion and signifying all individuals` contribution towards the common good, despite nationalities, ethnic origins or religious beliefs? After all, according to the chair of ALDE Guy Verhofstadt, the concept of minorities is obsolete and does not explain anything about modern society - the power of action lies within citizens and not within majorities or minorities.
What do you think about this issue? I announce April`s the virtual discussion “Minorities, majorities or simply citizens?” I also invite you to express your opinion on my “Facebook” page discussion board and by answering the question on my website www.donskis.lt.