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 Full text 
Monday, 18 January 2016 - Strasbourg Revised edition

The role of intercultural dialogue, cultural diversity and education in promoting EU fundamental values (debate)

  Andrew Lewer, on behalf of the ECR Group. Madam President, I would not seek to question the largely well-intentioned nature of where this report is coming from. Indeed, it contains positive elements, such as recognising the vital role of education and educators in integration and the importance of media literacy in the digital age.

It does nevertheless contain many more aspects that the ECR and its UK delegation are unable to support, and which go way beyond the 17 March declaration. These include calls for stronger EU representations within the UN, appointments of EU cultural attachés, harmonisation of visa procedures, adequate – which I would assume means ‘yet more’ – funding for Europe for citizens, which has many controversial elements, and proposals relating to Member State education policies and other items which are outside EU competences. The report is also full of references to EU citizens and EU citizenship, which many ECR members dislike and may surprise many UK citizens when efforts are being made by Europhiles to persuade them that the EU’s ambitions are limited and have no federalist element to them; clearly not the case judging by elements in this report.

As well as learning and understanding other cultures, it is important that we have understanding and pride in our own countries’ values. This is not referenced in this report, and may even be regarded as distasteful by some of its adherents: big mistake. Education and intercultural dialogue are indeed vital tools in the fight against violent extremism. An expanded role for the EU is not. Culture and education are national competences, and if the EU really wants to protect cultural diversity and subsidiarity they should remain so.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 162(8))

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