Addressing an event on common European values, in Brussels, which was marking the upcoming Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU (July-December 2019), European Commission Vice-President, Jyrki Katainen emphasised that the discussion on this topic is becoming of utmost importance. He deplored the fact that many of the EU's Member States seem to have forgotten some of the fundamental values that lie at the basis of the European construction, such as democracy, equality, respect for fundamental human rights, or the rule of law. He also pointed that Christian values should be more, and better, represented in the public space, and that Europeans should resist the manny challenges, from both the outside and inside, to this set of fundamental principles of European societies.
Vice-President Katainen's address was followed by a panel discussion with Rev. Fr. Sorin Selaru, Director of the Representation of the Romanian Orthodox Church to the EU, Mrs. Anneli Jäätteenmäki, long-term MEP and former Prime Minister of Finland, Mr. Antero Kiviniemi, attaché from the Finnish Permanent Representation to the EU, and Mrs. Krista Taipale, Head of the Helsinki EU Office.
During the panel, Fr. Sorin Selaru pointed that the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU, which is coming at its end on 30 June, could rightly be considered a success, with more than 90 legislation files closed, in spite of the rather short time due to the EU election process that dominated the second half of the period. He reminded that values were also high on the agenda of the Romanian Presidency, and that Christian values were always at the core of the European project, from its very beginning. Challenged by the moderator to name one value that they consider of utmost importance for Europe today, Rev. Selaru referred to faithfulness "If it is to have a future, the EU has to remain faithful: faithful to its own citizen, whose unique value and dignity has to be put at the basis of any legislation, faithful to its own past, its founding fathers and principles, faithful to itself," he concluded.
The event was organised under the auspices and in the presence of Most Revd. Dr. Tapio Luoma, Archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.