Photo: COMECE/Alessandro Di Maio
The relevance of Christian values for the European Union, especially in the context of the upcoming European elections in June 2024, was discussed by EU officials, representatives of church organisations and Catholic NGOs working with the EU, in a meeting on 6 December in Brussels.
The meeting was organised by the Conference of European Churches (CEC), the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the EU (COMECE) and the Interparliamentary Assembly On Orthodoxy.
The participants discussed how Christian faith and values shape our daily life, behaviour and action; how they inform the policies of the European Union, and how those working with the European institutions see Christianity’s role and impact in the political debate.
The meeting also invoked debate on how Christian values can form the European Union now and in the future, and how they can inspire policies and legal proposals. Also, it discussed main priorities of Christians and Christian democrats in view of the next European elections.
“In a time of multiple crises and increased polarisation in European societies, it becomes apparent that prosperity and economic growth are not sufficient objectives for the Union,” said Ms Katerina Pekridou, CEC Programme Officer for Theology and Studies.
She went on to say that lasting peace and reconciliation, the principal aim of the Union, not only require efficient political structures, but also the fundamental values of justice and solidarity.
“We are convinced that churches guided by the vision of God’s reign of ‘righteousness, peace and joy in the Spirit’ (Romans 14: 16-19), have a pivotal role to play in strengthening the values underpinning the existence of the EU, and contribute to reconciliation among communities and peoples (Treaty of Rome, 1957, cf. Charta Oecumenica),” Pekridou added.
MEP György HölvényI, Co-Chairman of the EPP Working Group on Intercultural Relations and Interreligious Dialogue stressed the importance of peace and speaking truth in the current political environment, where cooperation and enhancing understanding are essential.
MEP Jan Olbrycht, Vice-Chairman and Chief Whip of the EPP Group in the EP and Co-Chairman of the EPP Working Group on Intercultural Relations and Interreligious Dialogue reflected on how Christian values must be demonstrated in practice. He spoke about the complexity of diverse approaches in addressing ethical issues among the European churches as well as the EU Member States.
MEP Lukas Mandl from the Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats) spoke about the challenges related to disinformation and hate speech in the current political environment. In addressing these challenges, he stressed the significance of human dignity rooted in Christian values.