Pope Francis addressed Heads of State and Heads of Government of European Union countries on Friday afternoon, the eve of the 60th anniversary of the signing of the treaties creating the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community - the first major structural steps toward creating the European Union.
In the wake of Israel's approval of the settlement expansion bill which legalises 4000 homes in illegal settlements, the EU Foreign Affairs Council stated that these settlements are contrary to international law and an obstacle to a negotiated peace agreement between Israel and Palestine. Furthermore the proposed meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council has been postponed. Pax Christi International calls upon the EU to take a much stronger stance towards the Israeli government in condemning policies incompatible with the human rights clause of the EU-Israel Association Agreement
A joint delegation from the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and the Commission of Bishops' Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) met with the Prime Minister of Malta, Dr Joseph Muscat, and representatives of the government of Malta on Friday, at the start of their six month Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The meeting was convened to discuss common concerns, especially relating to the priorities of the Maltese presidency including migration, neighbourhood policy, and social inclusion.
More than 119 million Europeans are at risk of poverty and social exclusion. Among them, children and families are still the most affected. The Catholic Church in Europe is particularly involved in the fight against this plague. Convinced of the urgent need for an integrated approach at European level, COMECE puts forward a series of proposals. As the European Commission develops a European Pillar of social rights, COMECE Bishops publish a Statement on Poverty and Social Exclusion in Europe.
We, delegates from 21 European Justice & Peace Commissions, came together in Luxembourg from 30 September to 3 October 2016 to fulfil our responsibility to explore the challenges of security facing Europe in dialogue with representatives of politics, the military, EU institutions and civil society. Welcomed by the parish of the village of Schengen at Mass with a choir from the European School, we shared in the spirit of Schengen, united in diversity through prayer and song.
Caritas Europa urges leaders gathering at the European Council meeting of 28-29 June to rethink the EU-Turkey agreement. The ongoing migration and asylum situation is revealing an emerging threat to European values. Today, Caritas Europa issued a new position paper on the agreement in which it expresses its belief "in the capacity of Europe to solve this situation if it stands together, bases long-term solutions on solidarity, and guarantees the respect of migrants' fundamental rights"... "My parents, two sisters and I fled Syria to go to
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales: "A great tradition of the United Kingdom is to respect the will of the people, expressed at the ballot box. Today we set out on a new course that will be demanding on all. Our prayer is that all will work in this task with respect and civility, despite deep differences of opinion. We pray that in this process the most vulnerable will be supported and protected, especially those who are easy targets for unscrupulous employees and human traffickers.
Archbishop Justin Welby and Archbishop John Sentamu have issued this joint statement today after the UK voted to leave the European Union: On Thursday, millions of people from across the United Kingdom voted in the referendum, and a majority expressed a desire that Britain's future is to be outside the European Union The outcome of this referendum has been determined by the people of this country. It is now the responsibility of the Government, with the support of Parliament, to take full account of the outcome of the referendum, and, in the light of this,
On the occasion of the World Refugee Day, Caritas Europa reminded the European Union and its Member States that there are solutions to Europe's current solidarity crisis. There is no need to put the lives of migrants and refugees at risk and to unnecessarily prolong their suffering. Caritas continues to believe that Europe's founding values of dignity, equality and respect for human rights are not just hollow words, but make more sense now than ever. "Our older brother was kidnapped by ISIS and we have no news from him.
The referendum asks one clear, simple question: 'Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?'. My position, though, is double. • The EU, with all kinds of necessary qualifications, is a good and necessary institution. (This is a claim about the EU itself.) • The UK should remain a member. (To my mind, this second proposal does not make sense without the first (which the Leave campaign hotly denies, but which - unfortunately, the Government hardly defends).
On Thursday, May 26, 2016, European Union Heads of Mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah visited the area of Beir Onah near the Cremisan valley where they saw the ongoing construction of the Separation Wall. The Society of St Yves, the Catholic Centre for Human Rights, briefed the EU Heads of Mission about the legal, political, economical and social aspects of building the wall. Mr Ralph Tarraf, EU the Head of Delegation of the EU Assistance to the Palestinians, then conveyed His Beatitude Fouad Twal's message,
Fr Patrick H Daly, secretary general of COMECE, (Commission of European Bishops Conferences of the European Community) has welcomed the speech Pope Francis made when he received the international Charlemagne Prize at the Vatican on Friday. Fr Daly said: "COMECE cannot but welcome Pope Francis' powerful evocation of all the ideals to which the founding fathers of the European project aspired in an imaginative, optimistic and challenge rallying cry to a continent he referred to from the outset as "beloved".
The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales today issued a statement, at a press conference in London, about the upcoming referendum on the EU, following their first bi-annual plenary meetings of 2016 at Hinsley Hall in the Diocese of Leeds from 11 - 14 April 2016. The full text follows..... Reflecting on the forthcoming vote, we recognise the historic nature of this referendum and its implications for future generations. The outcome will have consequences for the future not only of the United Kingdom, but for Europe and for the world.
News that the EU is planning to send back refugees to Turkey has been met with grave concern by church leaders, charities and human rights groups. Speaking at the start of the next EU-Turkey summit on migration, Nick Dearden, the director of the campaign organisation Global Justice Now said today: "The deal that the EU is striking with Turkey means that the EU is effectively outsourcing its human rights responsibilities to a brutal regime. The abandonment of any pretence of the EU's principles means that we are now being blackmailed
There is room for a public debate on palliative care across the EU, says COMECE in an Opinion published today. As European society gets older, an increasing number of elderly people require palliative care. The European Commission is currently working on a European framework on Palliative Care. In order to contribute to the discussion around this new Framework, the COMECE Working Group on Ethics in Research and Healthcare has produced an Opinion on the subject of palliative care, which was launched on 22 February.
Leaders meeting today in Brussels were considering closing the Balkan route being used by refugees to enter and travel through the EU, in a move Christian Aid warns could be inhumane.
"We fear that this step will worsen still further the suffering of many thousands of people who are already desperate." said Jenny Brown, Christian Aid's Senior EU Relations Advisor. More than 30,000 refugee men, women and children are already trapped in Greece - at least 14,000 at the border with Macedonia - and thousands more arrive every
On Saturday night (February 20- 21) Israeli army bulldozers moved in and destroyed an elementary school which was under construction, funded by French humanitarian aid in the West Bank. The French Consulate in Jerusalem has issued the following statement condemning the destruction...,, This project is located in an area considered by the European Union as key to the viability of the Two-State solution.
Christian Aid has renewed its call for EU members to respond with fairness and vision to the present refugee crisis, saying it was disappointed at the outcome of ministerial talks in Brussels this week. The EU's Justice and Home Affairs Council failed to agree binding quotas that would commit EU member states to taking an additional 120,000 refugees - agreeing instead to relocate just 40,000 over a two-year period. In addition, although ministers did agree a welcome increase to the EU budget to help refugees in countries neighbouring Syria, additional funds
Reflecting upon the end of the Second World War, exactly 70 years ago today, 8 May, COMECE President Cardinal Reinhard Marx calls for a sense of collective responsibility and a spirit of service to enable Europe to face its present-day challenges such as the refugee situation and social injustice. "On this day, 8 May, what we remember most of all is the suffering that people had to endure during World War II. It is also a day when we give thanks for liberation from Nazi rule. The fact that we owe our freedom to others means that this commemoration brings us face to face with our own
Pope Francis has appealed to the international community to take swift and decisive action to avoid more tragedies of migrants fleeing war and persecution. His heartfelt cry to the world came following news of the sinking of yet another boat carrying migrants in the Mediterranean Sea in which it is feared at least 700 men, women and children have drowned. The Pope was speaking this morning after the Angelus in St Peter's Square, where he told tens of thousands of pilgrims. "They are men and women like us,
An estimated 800,000 women, men, and children are victims of human trafficking within the EU today. Up to 60% of the victims originate from EU states. The EU and its member states urgently need to implement the legal framework already in place and to intensify cooperation with civil society and church organisations that work with victims at the grassroots level. This was one of the main messages of the Dialogue Seminar organised by COMECE and the Church and Society Commission of CEC in cooperation with CCME
In the wake of the ‘Luxembourg Leaks’ investigation exposing the secret deals which have allowed multinational companies to dodge taxes on a massive scale, a new report reveals that governments across the European Union are failing to live up to their pledges to tackle tax abuse. The report – Hidden Profits – from the economic justice network Eurodad, which includes Christian Aid and the Irish Debt and Development Coalition compares 15 EU countries’ performance on combatting tax dodging and ensuring financial transparency.
Pope Francis met the Council of European Episcopal Conferences, which has been holding its Plenary Assembly in Rome this week, on the theme: 'Family and the Future of Europe '. He said that meeting provided “an important opportunity to reflect together on how to value the family as a valuable resource for pastoral renewal.” He went on to stress that pastors and families needed to work together so parish communities can become a "family of families" in which families, and married couples are supported whether it be those who live a normal married life, or those
The alienation expressed in the election results poses a formidable challenge for the next European Parliament, a crisis of legitimacy. The outcome of the European election has been widely and strangely described by both winners and losers as ‘an earthquake’. The image evokes a dramatic change in the landscape, and suggests that the election result may trigger panic. However, an earthquake is not a triumph but a catastrophe. These elections were dominated by fear and narrowed perception.
A boat carrying 400 migrants sank off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa earlier this week. Current reports estimate that up to 40 persons may have died with many more reported missing. "Every day that the European Union dithers on creating safe and legal ways for protection for asylum seekers coming to Europe, more people die", said Philip Amaral, from Jesuit Refugee Service Europe. "These tragedies happen because the EU has failed to establish a system that enables people to come to Europe safely,
CAFOD has welcomed a new law aimed at making large EU companies more transparent, but expressed frustration that exemptions mean some unscrupulous companies will still be able to avoid reporting publicly on the impact they have on human rights, corruption and the environment. European Member States agreed a last minute compromise deal today in Brussels, following weeks of negotiation about the draft law, seen by many as a crucial first step towards preventing human rights abuses and environmental problems in production.
Sending "more weapons to Syria will mean more widows and orphans", according to the head of an ancient Middle Eastern Church, who has made a passionate appeal for peace to the President of the EU. On a visit to Brussels, Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III met EU politicians including EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy and warned of the dangers of pouring more arms into a conflict which has already claimed at least 90,000 lives and led to more than three million people fleeing their homes.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has welcomed today’s decision by European Union (EU) Foreign Ministers in Brussels to adopt Guidelines on Freedom of Religion or Belief, fulfilling a commitment that was made in the EU Human Rights Strategy one year ago. As the tenth set of EU human rights Guidelines, the document outlines priority areas and operational tools for the promotion of religious freedom, with the aim of equipping the EU to support individuals and communities who face infringements to this right,
This year's annual EU high-level meeting of religious leaders took place today, 30 May, at the Commission's headquarters in Brussels, under the motto 'Putting citizens at the heart of Europe in times of change'. The meeting was hosted by José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, and co-chaired by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and László Surján, Vice-President of the European Parliament. The European Commission maintains an open, transparent and regular dialogue with churches
An EU decision that European multinationals will be required to report the profits made and taxes paid in every country where they operate, would, if enshrined in law, be an ‘historic breakthrough’ in battling tax evasion, Christian Aid said on Friday. The organisation estimates that developing countries lose an estimated US$160bn in tax revenues every year, much of it the result of multinationals shifting profits out to low or no tax jurisdictions. Christian Aid was the first major non-governmental organisation to call for country-by-country reporting
A course on Church-State Relations in the EU given by James Campbell SJ begins at Mount Street Jesuit Centre in Mayfair this Sunday. Fr Campbell will look at the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights and the issues which have impacted on Christianity and religious matters.
The EU Foreign Affairs Council discussed the latest developments in the Middle East on Monday. Expressing their regret that Israel had not extended the moratorium on settlement construction, European Governments reiterated their view on the key parameters, principles and issues for the resolution of the Arab-Israel conflict, stating “the EU will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem,
The European Parliament has voted in favour of extending maternity leave to 20 weeks on full pay, despite strong opposition from several national governments and intense lobbying from business organisations. The draft law, which includes a provision for two weeks of fully paid paternity leave, was approved by a large majority, went much further than the European Commission's original proposal to increase minimum entitlement from 14 weeks to 18.