John Overmyer

The Ghost of Appeasement

One of the fundamental pillars of Europe’s political architecture is a strong and enduring belief in the universal validity of equal, universal, and inalienable human rights. European leaders should bear that in mind when the European Union’s General Affairs and External Relations Council meets this week to discuss once more relations between the EU and Cuba.

PRAGUE – One of the fundamental pillars of Europe’s political architecture is a strong and enduring belief in the universal validity of equal, universal, and inalienable human rights. At the core of this is a belief in the rights of human beings to a life of freedom and the protection of their dignity.

In the years after World War II, this humanist ideal became the basis of Europe’s spiritual and political identity and hence it is contained in the founding documents of the European Union. Of course, this does not mean that the EU could or would want to conquer the rest of the world in the name of imposing its values, rules and culture on the rest of humanity. Far from it. What Europe’s devotion to humanism does mean, however, is a determination, no matter the circumstances, to stand firm and not abandon the fundamentals of European civilization and European unification. As a result, Europe places a primary emphasis on the universality of human rights and freedoms.

To be sure, there are many places around the globe where human rights and civil liberties continue to be trampled underfoot: North Korea, Iran, Burma, Tibet, Zimbabwe, and many others. This week, a meeting of the EU’s General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) will discuss once more relations between the EU and Cuba.

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