The EU: Union of ethical and cultural values or a trade organisation?

Published on 06/05/2023

Since the origin of the European Union, its objective has been to promote union and cooperation between member countries and, as you know, the figure of the translation agency and the profession of interpreter have been essential. However, despite its efforts to create an integrated trade and economic bloc, is the EU also committed to ethical and cultural values? Learn about the role played by ethical and cultural values in European unity in this article.

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  1. The EU as a unit
  2. Ethnic and cultural diversity in the EU

The EU as a unit

As you know, the European Union was originally formed as a coalition of states with the aim of promoting peace and prosperity in a continent that had been marked by war and conflict. Over the years, the EU has transformed and evolved, thanks to the integration of different countries and cultures through the development of the translation business, among other things, and today it is a major economic and trading power. However, some may argue that the EU has moved away from its fundamental principles and has become a mere trade organisation. In this blog, we'll discuss whether the EU is primarily a union of ethical and cultural values or whether it is more of a trade organisation.

Ethnic and cultural diversity in the EU

Since its creation, the European Union has been characterised by the ethnic and cultural diversity of its members. Although European values are universally shared, each country has its own history, traditions and culture. English, Spanish, German, Italian or Portuguese... There are many languages and their artistic, historical or cultural implications and contributions are invaluable. The richness of this ethnic and cultural diversity is one of the EU's main strengths. However, globalisation and the increased movement of people around the world have put this diversity to the test. Increased migration flows have led to tensions in many European countries, where some regard these movements as threats to their national identity. These tensions have been exacerbated by the increase in terrorist acts perpetrated by radical Islamic groups in Europe. Despite these tensions, the EU is committed to protecting and promoting ethnic and cultural diversity within its borders. The 2005 Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights recognises ethnic diversity as an important part of human identity. This has led the EU to establish multiple policies to promote respect and inclusion of all ethnic and cultural groups, including the adoption of anti-discrimination laws. The EU has also taken steps to promote cultural exchange between member countries by encouraging EU-wide educational, artistic and sporting projects. These initiatives contribute to increasing mutual understanding between different cultures and create better opportunities for personal development.

European values

The EU was founded on the pillars of peace and prosperity, but what European values lie behind this? European values are built on a common history of struggles for freedom, equality and progress. These are the values that have inspired many people to build a better future for all. European values include:

  • Freedom: All human beings have the right to live in freedom from fear and oppression.
  • Equality: All human beings must be treated equally, with dignity and respect.
  • Welfare: All human beings have the right to live in dignified conditions, with access to the basic services necessary for good quality of life.
  • Solidarity: We come together to help those in need, because we understand that nobody can prosper alone.

The EU: union of ethical and cultural values or a trade organisation?

According to the official definition, the European Union (EU) is a union of sovereign states committed to working together for the benefit of their citizens. In theory, this means that the EU is a forum where European countries can cooperate to solve common problems, and also promote the welfare and economic progress of their inhabitants. However, many Europeans regard the EU as a threat to their national identity. This is due in part to EU policies that seemingly favour trade over other values, such as culture or ethics. For example, in 2004, the EU adopted a regulation known as the "Bolkestein directive" that allowed companies established in one member country to offer services in other member countries under the same conditions as local companies. This regulation was widely criticised by cultural and ethical advocates, who claimed that the EU was promoting trade above all else. This has led many Europeans to wonder: Is the EU a union of ethical and cultural values or is it primarily a trade organisation? In this article, we will discuss this issue and examine the role of ethical and cultural values in the European Union.

Is the EU merely a trade organisation?

No, the EU also promotes common European values and fosters dialogue between civilisations. The EU is dedicated to protecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law, as well as to the fight against racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance. Furthermore, the EU plays an active role in maintaining international peace and security, through measures such as the development of bilateral relations with third countries, participation in military and police operations, and support for the maintenance of regional stability.

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Virginia Pacheco's picture
Virginia Pacheco

Blog writer and Community Manager interested in multiculturality and linguistic diversity. From her native Venuzuela, she has travelled and lived for many years in France, Germany, Cameroon and Spain, passing on her passion for writing and her intercultural experiences.

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