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29 June 2017

Churches to the EU: Our future depends on common values

Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich advocated for a fresh vision for Europe

On 27 June, the European Parliament, under the patronage of President Antonio Tajani, convened a dialogue with representatives of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian communities on the future of Europe.

The high-level dialogue was inspired in part by recent European Parliament resolutions on improving its various treaties and on the 2017 European Commission White Paper on the future of Europe.

Churches are equally invested in these conversations, notably through the COMECE’s upcoming Vatican gathering (Re)thinking Europe and CEC’s open letter and consultation What future for Europe?.

EU officials responsible for dialogue with religious and non-confessional organisations opened the afternoon’s proceedings. Mairead McGuiness, First Vice-President of the European Parliament, offered remarks on the EU’s approach to its own future in uncertain times. She stressed the importance of religious communities in contributing to developing an ever-closer union among the people of Europe.

Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission, underscored the identity of the EU as more than a common market. The EU, he noted, is about strengthening understanding through listening to people with whom you agree and also disagree.

Two panel discussions brought together religious contributions on the potential and future of the EU treaty system. Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ, Primate of Luxembourg, advocated for a fresh vision for Europe, and that the full potential of the treaties could help develop this new European dream.

CEC President Rt Rev. Christopher Hill KCVO, DD called for deeper engagement with the principles of solidarity, subsidiarity, and sovereignty to counter disenchantment about Europe, even among the churches.

Among the diversity of religions, Christian traditions, scholars, and EU representatives gathered, all agreed that faith-based contributions are essential in building up a “soul for Europe” and a European Union bonded by much more than politics and economics.

COMECE-CEC Joint Press Release, 28/06/2017

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