Churches discuss future of Europe at European Commission High-Level Meeting

European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans with Metropolitan Athanasios of Achaia, Imam Khalid Benhaddou, Bishop Mariano Crociata, Rabbi Albert Guigui, Bishop Antoine Herouard, Bishop Robert Innes, Dr Frank July and Rev. Christian Krieger. © European Union, 2018

Press Release No: 18/30
8 October 2018

Representatives from some of the CEC Member Churches participated at the European Commission Annual High-Level Meeting with Religious Leaders in Brussels.

The meeting was held on 8 October hosted by the First Vice-President Frans Timmermans. The event addressed the theme “The Future of Europe: addressing challenges through concrete actions” bringing together heads of religious organisations from across Europe.

In follow up to the discussions last year the religious leaders spoke about the concrete actions that should be taken to respond effectively to the challenges faced by Europe.

Among issues that were discussed included migration, social integration and sustainability of way of life and the upcoming European Parliament elections, which remained a priority matter. The religious leaders also reviewed European Union’s response to these issues.

“As churches we feel very concerned about the challenges faced by Europe, not only that we raised in the CEC open letter and process Future of Europe, but also issues related to labour and most importantly how we deal with the fears. We need to work towards trust in our common future and common good of Europe,” said CEC President Rev. Christian Krieger.

Bishop Mariano Crociata, Bishop of Latina, First Vice-President of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union said, “We must listen and understand the elements that constitute fear. These are the fears that are expressed in the political reactions. We must not simply deny these fears but we must recognise these fears and address in our communities.”

The high-level meetings and discussions are held regularly between the European Commission and churches and religious, philosophical and non-confessional organisations. The meetings were launched by the Commission in 2009 when such dialogue was enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty (Article 17 TFEU). The dialogue is now under the responsibility of First Vice-President Timmermans.

Full List of Participants:

  • Metropolitan Athanasios of Achaia, Permanent Representative of the Church of Greece to the European Union
  • Imam Khalid Benhaddou, El Fath mosque, Gent, Belgium
  • Bishop Mariano Crociata, Bishop of Latina, First Vice-President of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union
  • Rabbi Albert Guigui, Chief Rabbi of Brussels and Permanent Representative at Conference of European Rabbis
  • Bishop Antoine Herouard, Auxiliary Bishop of Lille, President of the Commission on Social Affairs of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union
  • Bishop 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, President of the Conference of European Churches

For more information or an interview, please contact:

Erin Green
Communication Coordinator
Conference of European Churches
Rue Joseph II, 174 B-1000 Brussels
Tel. +32 2 234 68 42
Fax +32 2 231 14 13
Twitter: @ceceurope

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