The conference will be structured in three different sessions distributed in two days and it will conclude with a social-democrat leader’s debate. Other activities to be confirmed will take place in the framework of the conference.
The dearly held French revolutionary values of “liberté, egalité & fraternité” still form the basis for modern European democratic principles. Yet we still face significant problems in terms of distribution of power and political marginalisation of certain communities. A truly intercultural narrative needs to be advanced in order to address the fears of minority communities. This will look at how the balance can be struck between freedom of expression and the prevention of hate speech. It will examine the relationship between the State and minority religions, as well as looking at the role of civil society and representative organisations ranging from religious and societal communities to the trade unions, to the employers associations and to the European institutions.
This section takes into account both human security and the role of institutions in answering and hopefully preventing radicalisation. If the State is the holder of legitimate use of force, does it use it in a just manner? What is the role of the education system and community outreach in preventing marginalised youths from becoming radicalised? Do government institutions do enough to address the underlying causes that attract young people to the life of a jihadi? What is the interplay between Islamist radicalisation and the Anti-Muslim populist backlash?
In order to put forward a truly progressive approach to challenging issues, there is a grave necessity for strong, wise and balanced leadership at European and national level. As such, FEPS will gather a number of prominent progressive leaders to address issues of balancing fundamental values with the respect for minority rights; the challenges of addressing radicalisation without further marginalising vulnerable communities; and, the means by which Europe can develop a vibrant intercultural identity that reflects our modern societies.
The question of social and economic empowerment is key to the understanding of communal marginalisation. If people cannot attain a decent standard of living, it is difficult to feel integrated in a society. If this has a parallel communal dynamic it intensifies such feelings, leading to a persistent disaffection across generations. In many cases, European economic model has not been able to offer jobs and economic confidence to minority communities. We are challenged to find a new approach to address this failing.