14. March 2013

On 13 March 2013, Ruprecht Polenz, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Bundestag, member of the CDU and a strong supporter of accepting a premise that the Islam belongs to Europe joined the Europe@debate. At the KörberForum in Hamburg, Germany, he discussed with FutureLab Europe participants Lidija Pejcinovic (Serbia) and Lukáš Fúčela (Slovakia).

“When Turkey joins the EU, it will be a different country”, said Ruprecht Polenz, Christian Democrat and chairman of the German Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs. In the course of the protracted accession process, it will become living proof that Islam, democracy and the rule of law are not incompatible. Yet the process also presents the European Union with an opportunity, and this is “to develop an enlightened understanding of its identity.” After overcoming numerous ingrained prejudices, the Union, in the words of the EU Treaty, will at last be open to all European states which respect its values and are committed to promoting them together. Polenz interprets this as follows. “In the 21st century these values should be defined and construed in terms of their universal validity, as indeed they were by the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.”

Not only is Ruprecht Polenz a strong supporter of Turkey joining the EU. The devout catholic also pledges for further acceptance of (more) Muslim Immigrants to Europe and for a strong cooperation between Christian and Islam communities in Germany. He also seeks the dialogue with other European non-EU countries that are home to a major Muslim population such as Albania and Bosnia Herzegovina. With Croatia joining the EU next July, the latter will become a “Schengen neighbour” soon.

In case you missed it, the conference video is now available here: