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Ainhoa Achutegui
Luxembourg
Who is responsible for the future of freedom in Europe?

It is above all civil society that is qualified to ensure, and indeed responsible for, the future of freedom in Europe. This responsibility cannot and must not be delegated blindly.

By Ainhoa Achutegui

Freedom to resist

Freedom means that we respect each other, that we ensure the rights of minorities and secure peaceful coexistence. Freedom means that we treat each other respectfully and understand that our personal freedom ends where the freedom of the other begins.

That is why in our democratic system we choose people whom we (would like to) see as guarantors of freedom(s) in Europe. Politicians should accordingly make decisions that lay further building blocks for the future of freedom. Giving them the privilege of decision-making, however, certainly does not mean giving them a carte blanche and handing over responsibility for our future.

The writer Ainhoa Achutegui Photo: Neimënster © Goethe-Institut That is why in our democratic system we choose people whom we (would like to) see as guarantors of freedom(s) in Europe. Politicians should accordingly make decisions that lay further building blocks for the future of freedom. Giving them the privilege of decision-making, however, certainly does not mean giving them a carte blanche and handing over responsibility for our future.

Freedom also means that we rebel and resist. We have the freedom to demonstrate, protest and criticize. That is why freedom of the press and freedom of expression are among the most important pillars of our democracies. But these are currently being increasingly restricted throughout Europe. Funds for public service broadcasting are being cut, the work of critical associations no longer supported, and meaningful projects no longer subsidized. Right-wing ideas are spreading across Europe, not only on social networks but also on voting ballots, and rightists have even entered governments. And what do we do? We just watch.

Freedom, as we know it, is in danger if civil society does not rise up. We must all become engaged in the political process.

Further reading:
Stefanie Sargnagel, Statusmeldungen (Rowohlt, 2017)
Laurie Penny, Bitch Doktrin (Nautilus, 2017)

Follow-up question:
“Is the liberal principle of “my body, my choice” still guaranteed in today’s Europe?”

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