Today, October 8th, 2018, Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Commission, met the high level religious leaders at the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels. The Committee of Representatives of the Orthodox Churches to the European Union (CROCEU) was represented by Metropolitan Athanasios of Achaia, Director of the Office of the Representation of the Church of Greece to European Institutions.
The other participants in the meeting were: Mgr Mariano CROCIATA, Bishop of Latina and Vice President of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), Mgr Antoine HEROUARD, Auxiliary Bishop of Lille and President of the Commission on Social Affairs of COMECE, His Grace Robert INNES, Anglican Bishop in Europe, Dr. Frank JULY, President Bishop of Wuerttemberg, Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), President of the EKD Commission on Europe, Rev. Christian KRIEGER, President of the Reformed Protestant Church of Alsace and Lorraine and President of the Conference of European Churches (CEC), Rabbi Albert GUIGUI, Chief Rabbi of Brussels and Permanent Representative at the Conference of European Rabbis and Imam Khalid BENHADDOU, El Fath mosque, Gent, Belgium.
The event took place in the framework of article 17 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and the dialogue between the Commission and religious organizations. It was the follow up of previous annual high-level meetings with religious leaders, an initiative taken by the President of the European Commission Manuel Barroso in 2005. Today's meeting focused on the main policy challenges Europe faces in the next year, as well as the perspectives for the future, beyond the European Parliament elections.
Participants discussed issues such as migration, social integration, sustainability of life and protection of the environment, the importance of education, the need to establish trust among all partners of the society, the role of dialogue as a tool to combat slogans, lies and populism, the risks of racism, discrimination and inequality, unemployment, artificial intelligence and violence against women.
On behalf of CROCEU, Metropolitan Athanasios made a concrete proposal to collaborate with the European Commission in organizing events on the topic of European values in dialogue with local traditions. He stressed the importance of deepening a sense of solidarity while maintaining and respecting each other's identity.
photo source: https://ec.europa.eu