Social Cohesion Research and Early Warning

The Department
Social Cohesion Development and Research  
Social Security
Access to Social Rights
Social Policy for Families and Children


Dialogue platform on ethical and solidarity-based initiatives for combating poverty and social exclusion
Awareness raising seminars
Methodological tool to develop co-responsibility for social cohesion
Annual Forums
Series Trends in social cohesion
Methodological Guides

Social Cohesion

Forum 2003: Social cohesion or public security: how should Europe respond to collective feelings of insecurity?

The aim of Forum 2003 was to consider what influence globalisation has on confidence and security, two fundamental aspects of social cohesion.

Globalisation poses a challenge to the role of the state and local and regional authorities in ensuring access to social rights, which since the war have served to stabilise democratic institutions. Can markets, to which nation states are increasingly prone to surrender their authority, deal unaided with current challenges? Do they really have the legitimacy and capacity to respond to the sense of insecurity stemming from changes in work patterns and public life, the new power of the media and technology in general, and current demographic and migration trends that now affect the whole of Europe?

The issues raised by the 2003 Forum deserve close attention since the challenge is to European identity itself, as reflected in a society in which development, social cohesion and citizen participation are carefully balanced. (more...)

Our citizens need, and have the right to demand, protection and security. But fear is a powerful motivator which may be used and abused for political purposes. It diverts public attention from other pressing problems and some politicians may be tempted to manipulate the public feelings of insecurity when elections are coming up and polls are going down. The adverse effects of such an approach are self-evident and while the primary responsibility to prevent them lies with politicians, the voters should also refuse to reward any attempts to exploit their anguish for political gains.

Peter Schieder,
President of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly
(2002-2005), addressing the colloquium on "Anti-Terrorist Measures and Human Rights" (Vienna , 30 October 2002)
  Themes covered
Feelings of insecurity and changes in society - What future for social cohesion in Europe?
Informing or alarming? The impact of the medias on collective feelings of insecurity
The right to live in security - What programmes and legal instruments to combat collective insecurity?
The right to live in security - What policies to ensure confidence and future social cohesion?
  Related information
Background remarks for the debate
Speakers' contributions
Press file
Trends in social cohesion Volume N�10 - Security through social cohesion: proposals for a new socio-economic governance
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Trends in social cohesion Volume N�11 - Security through social cohesion: deconstructing fear (of others) by going beyond stereotypes
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