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High-Level Meeting of EU Commission and European Religious Leaders on the Holy Land

A High-Level meeting between the Vice-President of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas, and important religious leaders from across Europe took place on 19 december 2023. The event had as its main topic of discussion the impacts of the war in the Middle East on Europeans.

The meeting enjoyed the participation of Bishop Mariano Crociata, President of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), Pinchas Goldschmidt, Chief Rabbi, President of the Conference of European Rabbis, Dr Antje Jackelen, Archbishop Emerita, Church of Sweden, Imam Yahya Pallavicini, President of COREIS (Comunità Religiosa Islamica Italiana, Italy), European Muslim Leaders Council (EULEMA). On behalf of CROCEU (Committee of the Representatives of the Orthodox Churches to the European Union), Fr. Konstantinos Kenanidis attended the meeting.

  After a welcome address by Vice-President Margaritis Schinas, a statement by Frans van Daele, Special Envoy for the promotion of Freedom of religion or belief outside the EU, opened the discussion on the following topics: the situation in the Middle East from the point of view of Churches and religious communities, the impact on the European Union, in particular the rise in hatred and intolerance, and possible follow-up actions within the EU and in the Middle East.

The host, Vice-President Schinas, presented the purpose of the meeting: "We must face division with reconciliation and dialogue. The dramatic events that unfolded since 7 October and their polarising effect in Europe show more than ever the need for us to come together around our most fundamental values, which cement our European way of life, our respect for fundamental rights and humanitarian principles. Religious leaders have an important role to play to help heal discord, as well as quell hatred and their consequences. Today’s special meeting will be an occasion to address these issues and discuss the way forward.”


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