The speech delivered by Humanistisch Verbond’s Director, Robbert Bodegraven, was made at a seminar titled “The 30th Anniversary of the EU Single Market: Past Achievements and Future Developments”, held at the European Parliament on 27 June. The event, organised within the framework of the Article 17 dialogue between the EU institutions and religious and non-confessional organisations, was hosted by First Vice-President of the European Parliament Othmar Karas.
The seminar aimed to assess the concrete contributions of the EU Single Market to human and societal values, while identifying its strengths and weaknesses. In his statement, Bodegraven acknowledged the positive outcomes of the market – such as job creation, economic growth, and the EU’s handling of global challenges like the Covid crisis and geopolitical tensions but also raised concerns about social inequality, democratic limitations, and the market’s inadequate response to the climate crisis.
Bodegraven argued that despite its accomplishments, the EU Single Market falls short of upholding fundamental values such as human dignity, equality, freedom, democracy, and human rights. He voiced criticism over the concentration of wealth among a privileged few, the market’s insufficient contribution to resolving the climate crisis, and the overpowering influence of corporate lobbying on democratic decision-making.
As part of his speech, Robbert Bodegraven affirmed:
“We need a European common market that reflects European humanist values. A market that works as a means to achieve our goals: greater social justice, better solutions for the ecology and climate crisis, and improving democracy. We must be true to the values of human dignity and equality.”
The event was attended by religious and non-confessional stakeholders, Members of the European Parliament and a representative from the Council of the EU.
Please see here for a recording of the event (Robbert Bodegraven’s intervention starts at 14:47).