Kapitel 01 / POLITIK & MARKE
PHOTOGRAPHER // PETER DE POTTER, BENELUX
FREEDOM, PEACE & TOGETHERNESS: OUR VISION FOR EUROPE
The immense value of freedom of speech and thought should not be underestimated. They are liberties that only a democratic sys- tem can guarantee. Belgium, together with Luxembourg and the Netherlands as the bedrock of what we now call the European Union, has always set an example in democracy and promoted freedom of speech for everyone within its borders and its cos- mopolitan capital Brussels.
Rising from the ruins of the Second World War, our small nation stood at the cradle of a new democratic system that would become a role model for the rest of the world. The new Europe would have to stand for the best of both worlds: the richness of diversity of dif- ferent nations, languages, cultures and tradi- tions combined with one solid democratic po- litical system with one objective: peace.
Europe is currently facing serious challenges in terms of democracy. Its borders are contin- ually being challenged, its economy has been under attack several times, and at the heart of everything, our democratic nerve centre is even at risk if we look at internal political regimes like Hungary, the presidential elec- tions in Austria and future presidential elec- tions in countries such as France. But let’s re- main steadfast and keep our heads! Fear is the worst advisor in times of crisis. And a typ- ical weapon of autocratic, despotic leaders and governments. The best solution to take is the same approach with which Benelux was created, and how the European Union evolved: togetherness in diversity, with respect for every single individual’s beliefs and needs. To say it in French: liberté, égalité, fraternité.
AUTHOR // PETER VANDE GRAVEELE, MANAGING PARTNER, SERVICEPLAN BENELUX