Our mission

  1. EAFT's mission

The European Association for Free Thought (EAFT) was founded in 2007 with the aim of supporting the European project and promoting and defending the principles of the Enlightenment, in particular freedom of thought, conscience and opinion. In doing so, EAFT is in line with the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, which every Member State must respect.

EAFT, which is already present in 23 EU countries, brings together citizens of all kinds, nationalities, origins, beliefs and non-beliefs, who want to make a practical contribution to building Europe and "living together" within the Union. In short, to create a sense of belonging and citizenship that will enable its citizens to share a peaceful future.

In this sense, EAFT, as a non-denominational organisation, advocates secularism, i.e. the non-interference of religions in politics. Secularism in no way implies the rejection of religions, but rather their instrumentalisation for political ends. With this in mind, EAFT, aware of the realities of the 21st century, also takes a stand against the rise of all forms of fundamentalism.

EAFT members share and exchange views on societal, economic, cultural and political issues, not only to become involved in European civil society, but also to participate in the dialogue between the European institutions and both religious communities and philosophical associations and non-confessional organisations.

When forging their opinion on European realities and policies, members of EAFT are inspired not only by the tradition of the Enlightenment (subjecting every idea, value and behaviour to a sound critical analysis) but also by a reading grid set out below (point 3). The aim of this approach is to use reason to examine the fit between social thinking and social reality, in order to distil the best standards for the benefit of the majority.

Everyone within AEPL can create useful tools for spreading the updated values of the Enlightenment in Europe.

  1. Overview of some of EAFT's activities

➢ Conferences

  • At the European Parliament: - "Women in today's Europe" (March 2010)
    - At the European Commission :
    - The fight against poverty and social exclusion (November 2011)
    - A partnership for democracy and shared prosperity for the countries of the southern Mediterranean" (April 2012)
    - Re-enchanting a people's Europe (April 2013)
    - "The free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States of America: an Atlantic Partnership for the benefit of citizens" (March 2015)
    - "A different take on Europe". On the need to rebuild Europe and reports on the perception of the EU by the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (April 2018)
    - European Union: digital transition, work, employment and new solidarities. (April 2018)

➢ Lectures with debate on Europe for EAFT members

➢ Other activities and achievements . Depending on current political events and the humanist issues close to its heart, EAFT practices direct democracy and occasionally invites its members to send e-mails to European political leaders.

Three examples:

a) On several occasions, EAFT has denounced the anti-democratic excesses in Hungary and Turkey to the Presidents of the European institutions and to the political groups in the European Parliament at the time;

b) In the Lautsi case (display of religious symbols in the public sphere), it overturned a resolution by the Christian Democrat and Socialist Groups to authorise the display of religious symbols in the public sphere in all EU countries;

c) It organised a vigorous campaign against the European Parliament's "confirmation" of the appointment of the Maltese Commissioner Borg, given his unacceptable positions on the right to divorce, homosexuality, the dignity of women, etc. In a letter to the President of the EP, AEPL made it a condition of confirmation that the Commissioner-designate subscribe orally and in writing to the provisions of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. In a letter to the President of the EP, EAFT made its confirmation conditional on the Commissioner-designate's oral and written endorsement of the provisions of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, which Mr Borg eventually accepted.

EAFT also lodged a complaint with the European Ombudsman against President Barroso for maladministration in appointing the members of the European Group on Ethics (EGE), which was made up of 6 theologians and a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, thus creating a de facto over-representation of the religious current within the EGE. Following EAFT's complaint, the Ombudsman, Ms O'Reilly, issued an opinion which resulted in the Commission removing the theology criterion during the selection process for the renewal of the EGE's mandate in spring 2017. As a result, the new members of the EGE are now, first and foremost, true scientists.

  1. Reading grid - Summary.

It allows EAFT to see any European policy as legitimate and credible, if it :

  • strengthens the rights and obligations of European citizens while at the same time consolidating the ethic of co-responsibility (interdependence) that applies to everyone;
  • recognises a single Humanity ;
    allows every European citizen to express his or her convictions
  • differentiates, this rivalry must be fruitful and must not jeopardise the fundamental rights of other European citizens;
  • will incorporate the above principles as part of a "Europeanisation" of civil and political rights - some of which are already included in the Treaties and form part of the acquis - as well as economic, social, cultural and environmental rights (including all "living things");
  • ensures that the fundamental rights and values enshrined in the European Treaties are fully recognised and respected in European elections;
  • is accompanied by an overhaul of the concept and mechanisms of subsidiarity enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty;
  • tends towards a model of integration that breaks with the postulate of the primacy of economic freedoms over other freedoms and adds criteria of solidarity and distributive justice that are the responsibility of the political community. "Social rights are required, independently of the objective of free competition, and are based on membership of the political community";
  • is based on social justice and decent work;
    establishes reliable rules, methods and indicators on employment and social imbalances, making it possible to anticipate the social impact of asymmetric economic shocks and avoid social and fiscal dumping;
  • ensures a balance between private and public goods and interests.

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