The Conference of European Churches (CEC) highlighted churches’ vision for the Conference on the Future of Europe in European Commission’s High-Level Dialogue Meeting, emphasising the contribution of Christian voices, together with other faiths, in developing Europe’s future.
The meeting was hosted online by European Commission’s Vice-President Margaritis Schinas on 14 January in the framework of the Article 17 dialogue between the EU and the churches, religious associations, philosophical and non-confessional organisations.
In the meeting, CEC was represented by its President Rev. Christian Krieger, Bishop Kaisamari Hintikka from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and Rt Rev. Dr Robert Innes from the Church of England.
Initial statements were presented by Margaritis Schinas and Vice-President for Democracy and Demography Dubravka Šuica.
“Churches welcome and remain deeply involved with the Conference on the Future of Europe, which is a major Pan-European democratic exercise, providing a forum for an open, inclusive and transparent debate with citizens on key issues,” said CEC President Rev. Christian Krieger. For strengthening the renewal of the democratic functioning, he called for a sustainable process that offers European citizens a platform for dialogue with the European Union – also beyond the current initiatives.
In order to develop the European project, he said, Europe couldn’t be limited to EU’s 27 member states. “It is important that the European Union shows its willingness to be open and expand, and develop a clear policy towards the non-EU member states in the region as well.”
“As Article 17 stakeholders, we have a crucial role in building the future of Europe,” said Bishop Kaisamari Hintikka. “We hope the Conference on the Future of Europe will lead to concrete outcomes, truly contributing to a joint vision for EU’s directions in the next decade and beyond.”
A number of speakers critiqued migration policies, stating that certain treatments violate migrants’ human dignity, which is unworthy of the values that the European Union wants to promote.
The Conference on the Future of Europe is a European Union initiative, engaging people from across the continent to share their ideas and shape their common future, through a wide range of debates and discussions, made possible through a digital platform. The Conference, launched on Europe Day 9 May 2021, aims to reach conclusions in guiding the future of Europe by spring 2022.