Parliamentary Assembly session : 26 – 30 April 2004 

''Renewed reflection about our values is now an urgent necessity'', says Jan Peter Balkenende

28.04.2004 - Diversity forms the essence of European civilisation. But if Europe does not resolutely protect its shared canon of values, it will put the essence of its civilisation at risk, stressed the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, speaking to the Parliamentary Assembly on the subject of changing European values and the need to find new standards.

He went on to say that “Our challenge is not only to protect the values we have set out together but also to keep them alive in a time of tremendous movement and change. The day we stop living those values is the day Europe’s heart stops beating'', he said. ''Peace is more than the absence of war and violence.

It is also a peaceful and prosperous society of people within the European community of values'' he concluded.

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