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Comparative view of Western and Eastern democracies in dealing with diversity issue to day s Europe

Open Panel

Abstract

Wanda DRESSLERin cooperation with A. FUGA, Liza TERRAZZONI and Veronica MITROI In our paper, we will make a comparison between old democracies from Western Europe (France, Germany, Danmark, Netherlands, Austria and Spain) which are seized by the populist wave to day and new democracies of the previous Eastern block integrated into Europe ( Estonia, Bulgaria, Tcheck Republic and Hungary) and Turkey, debating its entrance into European Union, in order to answer to the questions posed by the chairwoman of the panel: how the different actors evaluate the relationship between democracy and diversity, on what normative assumption theses evaluations are based and what are the arguments given by each society actors to present their solutions as democratically acceptable by the European authorities and policy if their concepts of democracy and citizenship differ in a significant way. It will be an attempt to synthetize the empirical research we made in Eurosphere about different actors (political parties, NGO, think tanks and medias) in these countries, principally based on the different country reports produced and the knowledge base build in Eurosphere. The French position is rather clear : French actors are diversely cautious towards the term of diversity the new policy the President Sarkozy have promoted in public space because it provokes some troubles in the French public sphere dominated by the Republican normative model willing to preserve equality between citizens : for most of actors, it is necessary to associate the fight for diversity with social equity and fight against discrimination to prevent democratic derives, position commonly shared by actors from different political trends; it seems that some other western democracies share more or less this conception even if they are more flexible in some ways than the French rigid Republican model and built on a more cultural basis or decentralized conception of nation. It seems that the post communist countries which share the cultural basis nation building adapt quite rapidly to European exigencies of democratic gestion of minorities and European norms. But with some significant difference we have to explore in comparison with western democracies whose democratic derives are no more excluded. Turkey example will be added to the reflection to see how to situate this country in comparison with the other two groups, given the fact that the laic Republic share many points with the French Republican model