Data: 31 May 2024

The Working Group on Conservatism in Europe

The Working Group on Conservatism in Europe is a partnership of institutes, which have been working together since 2022 to identify and define European conservative ideas and traditions, as a starting point for a wider conversation that could draw out common principles.

Dear Friend,

We’re thrilled to announce that Warsaw Institute has participated in the Working Group on European Conservatism. Over the past year, this collaborative effort has gathered a diverse array of perspectives from across Europe to explore the contemporary essence of conservatism.

Representatives from various think tanks in Belgium, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, France, and the European Union have contributed to this initiative. Through more than nine collaborative meetings among these organizations, Warsaw Institute is pleased to present the working group’s statement. This document is dynamic and will evolve with future meetings.

Our aim is for this document to serve as a shared reference point for conservatives throughout Europe, highlighting our common ground despite minor differences, and emphasizing our shared inheritance of this tradition.

– Liliana Śmiech, Chairwoman of the Foundation Council



The Working Group on Conservatism in Europe is a partnership of institutes, which have been working together since 2022 to identify and define European conservative ideas and traditions, as a starting point for a wider conversation that could draw out common principles.

The term “conservative” has become widespread in politics. However, the meanings now ascribed to the term are so varied, that among those labeled as “conservatives”, one can find anything from radical libertarians to anti-democratic authoritarians, imperiling the very term with a loss of meaning. It is our belief that conservatism has a substantive meaning, as well as a role in history—and in the future of Europe.

In order to better understand this term and its meaning, the Working Group held the following meetings with more planned in the future:

  • Budapest – Constitutive Meeting
  • Brussels – European Reform
  • Bari – Migration and Demographics
  • Madrid – Economics
  • Vienna – Religion and State
  • Budapest – Family and Demographics
  • Uppsala – Environment
  • Namur – Consolidation
  • Turin – Presentation of Principles



Europe’s conservative movement is as diverse as the continent itself, reflecting variations in language, culture, society, religion, and history. A range of historical and geographical factors have contributed to the emergence of conservative traditions in Europe. These traditions are much more varied—and fractured—than in the Anglosphere. Nevertheless, the development of strong, coherent conservative traditions has sustained many European nations through difficult times. It is our contention that these discrete strands together compose the fabric of a common European conservative tradition.

The working group is rediscovering a common understanding of conservatism in Europe and have thus far settled on the following principles.

European Values

Any meaningful European conservatism must be founded upon acknowledging Judeo-Christian values and their understanding of human nature. They form the indispensable framework for public morality, freedoms, tolerance, subsidiarity and constitutional democracy. This principle should be explicitly enshrined in every national and European constitutional document and declaration.

Integrity of the National State

Conservatives believe that each sovereign national state has a unique role in ensuring its prosperity, independence, and security, and fostering its own customs, traditions, and values. Conservatives recognize that there is value in shared endeavors, like confederal arrangements, regional or international cooperation, economic or cultural integration efforts, but these must not come at the expense of individual sovereign national states, their integrity or their national interests. Conservatives additionally hold that free nations have a responsibility to defend international norms and the recognised sovereignty of other nations.

National Interest

States exist to maintain and nurture the nation and its integrity. It is, therefore, just to advance policies primarily according to national interests and traditions and not according to abstract universal notions. Specific histories and particular traditions define every nation. These are, therefore, to be learned, cherished, and taught – the successes as well as the failures, as components of a country’s national identity; they should be addressed openly and honestly, without erasing, canceling, or destroying it.

Religion in the Public Square

Every country has a public religion, underpinning transcendental truth. Where traditional religion is removed, it is replaced by useless simulacra like a political worship or a patchwork of superstitions. It is, therefore, desirable for every country to assign a place in the public square to the religious traditions rooted in its history as a whole, with adequate provisions made for respect and tolerance of minority religious traditions.


Conservatives believe in and promote the traditional European family in preference to other models. While there is no interest in the state interfering in the private lives of citizens as long as they are conducted lawfully, the standard public model of education, and general policies regarding family, marriage, and sexuality should remain traditional ones. Moreover, governments should adopt policies intended to fortify and reward traditional families in order to pursue a beneficial demographic future.

Economy and Social Relief

Conservatives support a market economy and property rights. Tariffs and defensive economic measures may be necessary to defend local producers and traditions against unfair trading practices by foreign countries, but always openly and explicitly, so that there can be public scrutiny and real calculation of costs and benefits. As for social and welfare policies, the preference should be to empower and foster social groups, associations and institutions to take upon themselves greater responsibilities and challenges, while recognizing a legitimate role for the state.


A conservative view of education regards it necessary to impart to pupils the core national languages, values and traditions, while also exposing them to the wider world of ideas. We value a diversity of educational traditions and options, preferring educational institutions that draw from the local and communal experiences composing the national tradition. Education begins in the family home, and families have the right to ensure that their children’s education respects their philosophical and religious convictions, while conforming to the national laws and values.


A country has the right to set lower or higher rates of immigration, and it is not a natural right of anyone to immigrate to a country of their choice. A country that admits immigration may set quotas, or preferential admission for people of similar national or religious heritage, as well as define integration standards for immigrants it wants to admit as citizens. Countries have a duty to assist genuine refugees, without it becoming a back door for uncontrolled immigration.

Stewardship of the Natural World

Conservatives believe in the stewardship and conservation of the natural world. Humans are the custodians of a world rich in resources and beauty, and have a responsibility to protect nature, while utilizing its resources for the benefit of mankind with due consideration for those who shall inherit them in the future.


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TAGS: energetyka, Inicjatywa Trójmorza, energia elektryczna, sieć powiązań, Unia Europejska 

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