UN chief calls on EU to fight for ‘enlightenment’ against intolerance

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers the opening address at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 25, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

Brussels, June 24 (IANS) United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres asked the European Union (EU) to fight for values of “enlightenment” against populism, racism and other intolerant ideas during his visit here on Wednesday.

“As a European, I’m particularly proud with the contribution that I consider the most important contribution of Europe to global civilization — and that is in my opinion, the Enlightenment, the values of the Enlightenment. The primacy of reason, tolerance,” Guterres said at a press conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Xinhua reported.

The Age of Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, was a European intellectual movement that spread during the 17th and 18th centuries.

“This is particularly important when we see the risks of moving into a kind of post-Enlightenment era and where we see the multiplication of different forms of irrationality — nationalism, populism, racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim hatred,” said Guterres, former prime minister of Portugal.

Guterres added that the EU will be at the forefront of the good battle for the values of the Enlightenment, which were the very important contribution of Europe to global civilization.

The UN Secretary-General is visiting Brussels to meet the college of the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU. They will discuss topics such as peace and security, support for refugees, the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the fight against climate change, according to von der Leyen.

On Thursday, Guterres is scheduled to deliver an address to the European Parliament.

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