(As adopted on 29 September 1995 in Lisbon, ratified on 8 December 1995 in Copenhagen and amended on 1 November 2010 in London)
THE EUROPEAN YOUNG CONSERVATIVES SHALL HAVE AS OBJECTIVE TO FURTHER CONSERVATISM WITHIN EUROPE AS WELL AS INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS. WE UNDERSTAND CONSERVATISM TO BE BUILT UPON THE FOLLOWING PILLARS:
Representative democracy can only function when people feel enough in common, one with another, to accept common government and laws. Every nation should be free to form an independent and self-governing state. The borders of a state should reflect as closely as possible the wishes of the people living in the territory. International alliances and cooperation should rest upon free collaboration among independent countries.
Truly accountable democracy will flourish best in a pluralist civic society in which decisions are made as closely as possible to those affected by them. Power should be dispersed, both among the different branches of government and among the various non-governmental organs which are essential in a healthy society. Government should acknowledge the important role played by non-governmental institutions and refrain from acting in areas where government intervention is not necessary or useful.
Individuals should be free, under the law, to act as they wish without limiting the freedom of those around them. The freedoms which are guaranteed must include: freedom of movement within one's country and in leaving or re-entering it; freedom of religion and worship; freedom of speech and publication; freedom of assembly and association; freedom to join, or not to join a trade union or employers' association; freedom to pursue any lawful trade or profession without interference. Personal liberty also includes the right to own and convey property, free from confiscatory taxation. Individuals must be free to dispose as they wish of their labour and their possessions.
THE RULE OF LAW
Freedom and justice in any society rely upon the firm maintenance of the rule of law. Equality of access to and treatment before the law must be maintained, and the law must be enforced by an independent judiciary. The requirements of the written law should never be set aside in the name of national interest or popular opinion.
That which nobody owns, nobody will care for. Individuals must be free to retain or transfer ownership without interference. Taxation should be used only as a means of raising the revenues for government to perform its necessary functions; it should not be used for social engineering. Private ownership should be preferred to state ownership.
Justice and order in any society are founded in shared values and customs. No society can ignore the inherited wisdom of former generations. A country should accept and cherish its traditions, whether secular or religious in origin. Each generation should be aware of its debt to those who have gone before and its duty to those who come after.
The family is the cornerstone of society. It is the unit in which basic values and moral standards ought to be taught. Government should not seek to arrogate to itself functions which can be performed at family level, nor should it intervene to subsidise those who reject the family structure in any way.
THE FREE MARKET
A free market, without qualifying adjectives, and under a sound money system, implies absolute free trade in goods, services and capital. Not only is a free market the most effective way to marshal a society's resources, it is the only way to safeguard individual liberty. Restrictions of the right to trade freely are therefore wrong on both practical and moral grounds. Extending commerce is the best way to maximise global prosperity.
Political structures should be based upon accepted standards of right and wrong. At their most fundamental, these standards comprise respect for life, truth and property. They are common to all religions and moral philosophies where civilisation is rooted in. They are universal and social order cannot exist without them. They should be reflected in the legal and political institutions of the state, and encouraged among citizens.