INTRODUCTION TO THE PRESENTATION OF THE ATLAS OF EUROPEAN VALUES Mr. H.M.C.M van Oorschot, President of the Executive Board June 23, 2005 Excellencies, and I specifically address our Prime minister and the ambassadors here present, other representatives of the embassies, ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of the board of Tilburg University it is a pleasure for me to welcome you at this session. It is an honour for me to be able to present the first atlas of the European Values Study and to hand over the first copy to our Prime minister. It is no accident, that Mr. Balkenende wrote the preface in this atlas, since he is very involved and interested in the issue and considers the discussion on values, the search for and the promotion of the shared ones and the emphasis on practising them of the utmost importance. This atlas is a product of a longitudinal survey that was started by Tilburg University in 1981 and was repeated in 1991 and 2000 showing the development of values in Europe. It is the only scientifically valid survey on this topic and it is only possible to come to this production through the devoted co-operation of scientists in all the participating countries. I want to thank especially the crew that worked on this atlas: our scientists Loek Halman, Ruud Luijkx, and Marga van Zundert, the designers Joost Beelenkamp, Carla van den Ouweland and Coen Teurlings, Joyce van Belkom, the photographer, project manager Pieter Siebers and Brill Academic Publishers. Today we present their work in a very beautiful atlas that gives the general public a chance to have a practical look into this big research program and its results. It is fun to look through this atlas. You can find very interesting information about actual opinions in the different countries. To give a few examples: 1. In Croatia and Italy about 70% of the people belief in angels. It certainly makes life easier. 2. A bribe is most accepted in Belarus; don't try it in Denmark. 3. Casual sex is most accepted in Iceland; not at all at Malta; both people are very satisfied with their life, but Icelanders are a bit happier ..... 4. Most Europeans don’t trust their parliamentary representatives and would prefer to be ruled by technocrats. And so on and on and on.. The research programs on economics, law, social sciences and humanities have disappeared a bit to the background of Europe’s scientific debate. Europe’s Framework programs and the Lisbon Treaty are very focused on science. There is a big risk in that approach. Europe undoubtedly disposes of very successful research programs in the field of science and our educational systems are of a good quality. But our financial traffic, our hesitation to take risks, our social systems, which are financially and psychologically cumbersome, our lack of entrepreneurship, our legal en regulatory systems, the fear of cultural loss, our lack of togetherness, and the narrow-mindedness of many citizens, all these are blocking the growth more than our technological and innovative arrears. Therefore we should address these problems in our research programs. Multidisciplinary research programs to show the way out of this swamp and to find effective instruments to tackle these obstacles are of the utmost importance if we want to realize the Lisbon targets. That is why Tilburg University is building a European network of top scientists and universities around these big questions. Ladies and gentlemen, The atlas presented here today, shows how Europeans think and feel about values. Values are embedded in our culture and history; they are the building blocks of our civilization. Since civilization is the only answer to violence and intolerance, this atlas shows what makes us into human beings and what could be the foundation for a united Europe. Knowing these roots and their historal context and the understanding of what makes this continent into Europe can be one of the answers to our social and economic problems, which I mentioned before. But the discussions about Europe today have more to do with power, wealth (or money) and violence (or the protection against it). The issues of power, violence and the strive for wealth have in their nature and in the long run more potency to separate Europe, than to bring it together though. The European civilization, and the knowledge and understanding of it, are the only roads to co- operation and unity. Our Prime minister has shown, that he wants to work along these lines, by letting the Nexus Institute of Tilburg University organize great sessions on these topics during his European chairmanship in the 2 nd half of 2004. Therefore it is my great pleasure to hand him over this atlas, full of building blocks for a real European society.