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24 / 07 / 2004
Joan Rigol: A country advances when it is able to share a network of values

The former president of the parliament of Catalonia stated, "citizens must stop being individuals who simply pay taxes and share in public responsibility"

In today's "Ethical Wealth of Nations" Dialogue the former president of the parliament of Catalonia, Joan Rigol, said, "a country advances when it is able to share a network of convictions, of values." In this sense he mentioned, "politics are not a product that must be sold every four years, they are a link between the politician and his country. If we become a technocracy that focuses on a series of preferences based on opinion polls, we will get nowhere."

He also went on to indicate that "politicians must be responsible and look ahead to the long term, and although political parties are better at confrontation, they do not have to be scared of sharing decision making with one and other."

"Public administrations can relate to society in two ways: as citizens or as clients" said Rigol in the session "Good Practices: Ethics and Public Administration". According to his words, "if we do this as clients we only have to give them good services, if the public administration treats individuals as citizens, then co-responsibility can be asked of them" and he concluded that "this is where ethics of administration comes into play: if I treat them as citizens, them I can expect an active sense of civic responsibility from them, with greater participation."

He said in addition that "for a nation to be rich it needs a series of elements, but ethics are the very wealth of nations, and only within the framework of ethics can we give the very best of ourselves."

He also emphasized "the correspondence of rights and duties results in us inlaying ethics into the very institutional fabric of a country. Citizens stop being just tax payers and take on a role within the concept of public responsibility itself." In this respect he emphasized that, "politics are not only to provide public services, but also correspondence should be asked of citizens, for that reason we need to demand morality in politics."

Fred Olav Sorensen, advisor to the Norwegian Embassy before the European Commission, said that "a government will never obtain ethical attitudes by means of repressive activities; what will bring this about will be the existence of an ethical culture". He went on to mention "transparency is basic for ethics and an ethical response from governments."

Sorensen, who from 1988 to 2001 was a member of the Human Values Commission set up by the Norwegian government to study the values of different social groups in that country, pointed out that " we work under two dilemmas in public management: that of loyalty versus personal integrity and secondly, between public and private interests.ö