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No. 39 • July - December 2004 • Page 255
 •  Initiatives

Paris, (France) -- Europe a lively debate

In the Les Ecoles student residence, located in the heart of the Latin Quarter, symbol of the Parisian university and cultural tradition, a day of reflection on Europe’s past and future was held on October 14. Students from a number of different fields of study filled the auditorium of the residence. The interest that the topic stirred up was shown in the questions directed to the speakers and in the groups that were formed at the end of the meeting to informally debate such questions as the European constitution, the expansion of the European Union to new countries, the Christian roots of Europe, etc.

Elizabeth Montfort, a former European Deputy and author of the book Dieu a-t-il sa place en Europe? (Is there a place for God in Europe?), opened the meeting with a discussion of the history of the recognition of human rights in France, without which it would be difficult to understand today’s France. She gave a balance sheet of Europe today, and emphasized the urgent need to find a clear identity and common values consistent with its history.

Michel Rouche, a professor at the Sorbonne, also spoke about Europe’s common heritage. He described how, thanks to evangelization, two worlds were able to interpenetrate each other and give rise to a new culture which can with all propriety be called “Christian”: the Roman world, formed in the civil law, and the pagan world, in which force and violence reigned.

Remi Forycky, professor of literature and director of the Polish Library in Paris, acted as spokesman for Europe’s eastern “lung.” He described the geopolitical position of some countries in Eastern Europe such as Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland, and pointed out that Europe exists fundamentally because the majority of its inhabitants share the same roots

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