Honorable Presidents, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Guests,
I was fascinated by the lecture of Mr. President Voßkuhle and his characterization of the order of values in Europe as the elixir of life, nurturing and growing our community. We do indeed have common values, based on which we should grow together. Being a professor of constitutional law, I am convinced that any debate about these very popular common values serves the greater good. However, any such debate should be depoliticized and re-professionalized. Only this can nourish the legal links between the Member States and the EU.
This is the reason why I always try establishing good relations with those organizations that examine the legal links between states, such as the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, that in its name struggles for Democracy Through Law. Their most recent opinion to be handed down on the subject on the new administrative court system in Hungary I think will be a good example of the professional debate mentioned above and of what we are desperately in need of these days.
However, I am not here today to feed these debates. After thoughts of nurture and nourishment in the introduction, now I would like to move on to talk about how the Member States and the EU might interact – in other words: how gentle touches of identity might shape the face of our European integration. I chose this topic for my keynote address as it is identity that can either give life to integration, revive it if necessary, and it is also what holds it together in times of crises.
Identity is all about communication. When I got the invitation to speak at this conference and I looked at the date on the invitation, I instantly knew that I needed to address the obvious. On the International Day of Women, we should stop and really appreciate how mutual respect and communication can contribute to the evolution of our identities as individuals and as communities.
When I was young, before the regime change, this day had a very negative ideological meaning in Hungary. I know that we needed time to strip the International Day of Women from these bad connotations that were originally alien to us. We also needed time to really acknowledge the role women play in society. However, in Central and Eastern Europe, this is not the only holiday at which we needed to learn to look differently. Communism has attached bitter memories to many of the internationally recognized holidays. Now, it is especially because of these historically very different circumstances that we need to do everything we can to better understand each other. To try and recognize as well as accept differences and specificities that bring us closer and might hold us together. This is our unity in diversity. In addition, these are all those common and particular values that make up our identity: our EUdentity – as the title of the conference suggests.
Using the allegory of a woman’s touch, I wish to illustrate how gentle but firm touches of identity shape our European integration, just as women shape us in our daily lives, making us stronger, and making us whole as part of a family. As men and women walk hand in hand, mutually respecting each other, so do identity and integration. However, as in any relationship, there might be periods when a crisis unfolds. These are those times when holding hands has the potential to turn into temporary rivalry just as well as it may become a very passionate love story.
Ön itt egy előadásrészletet talál, ami a 2019. március 8-án, Constitutional EUdentity 2019 címmel megrendezett konferencián
hangzott el. A teljes előadás szövegét az Alkotmánybírósági Szemle 2020. évi különszámában nyomtatott változatában olvashatja el. Előfizetni a folyóiratra itt tud.