“The economic crisis is a crisis of values”

“The economic crisis is a crisis of values”

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The Swedish minister for the European Union, Birgitta Ohlsson, gave an exposé of the Human Rights’ development within the EU at a UPF lecture on Friday.

The speech of Birgitta Ohlsson starts at the year of her birth in 1975. Pictures of Franco, Honecker and other European dictators fly over the screen. They are followed by a map of the EU in 2013 – a democratic unified Europe.

“It is a young story that needs to be told,” says Ohlsson.

Besides all the improvements accomplish, there is still a lot that worries the Minister, who is also responsible for consumption and democracy issues.

“Hungary is the severest case within the EU. Since its election in 2010 the government changed the constitution four times.”

Basic democratic principles, like press freedom and minority rights are challenged.

“The EU needs a sanction system for countries violating the Human Rights. Money talks!”

Next to sanctions, Ohlsson also pushes issues like child care and women in higher position:

“It is frustrating to be the only women and feminist at some meetings.”

To reinforce her statement she shows pictures of EU ministers. Men in black suits dominate the scene.

“The average of women in Arabic governments is higher than in some European countries.”

In her opinion women quotas can help to start up inclusion.

Ohlsson argues that Europe has to be a role model for the rest of the world. “When I, for example, ask a state leader to work with the minorities, he is likely to object, that Europe neither works with its Romani population.”

Nationalist movements have achieved worrying popularity.

“The economic crisis is a crisis of values,” says Ohlsson and continues:

“We cannot look away and say we didn´t know, like my grandma did. We all take part.”

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