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German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (R) takes over the rotating EU presidency from Croatia German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (R) takes over the rotating EU presidency from Croatia 

Ecumenical delegation urges EU to build more just society

An ecumenical delegation of Catholic and Protestant leaders is urging Germany to use its EU Presidency to help make Europe both stronger and more just and sustainable.

By Devin Watkins

Catholic and Protestant Church leaders met Tuesday in Brussels with Germany’s Permanent Representative to the European Union, Mr. Michael Clauss.

The ecumenical delegation hailed from the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the EU (COMECE) and the Conference of European Churches (CEC).

Germany currently holds the rotating presidency of the Council of European Union.

Europe’s Christian leaders welcomed Germany’s “ambitious and forward-looking programme” which goes under the title “Together for Europe’s Recovery”.

More just and sustainable EU

In a joint contribution, Catholic and Protestant leaders invited the EU and member states to work together with the Churches to make Europe “not only stronger but more innovative, just, and sustainable.”

“The German Presidency truly comes at a crucial time for the future of the European Union,” they say, “demonstrating the need for us all to stand together and for a joint, strong vision of Europe.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit Europe hard, they add, exposing “the vulnerabilities and apparent uncertainties of our politics, economics, and societies”.

Recovery in solidarity

Christian leaders say the EU needs to focus its recovery efforts on protecting the needs of the most vulnerable, rather than just businesses.

They urge the EU to protect the rule of law and combat all forms of discrimination on the basis of religion or belief.

Antisemitism and anti-Gypsyism, they say, need to be confronted and opposed “with all our strength.”

Dialogue and social cohesion

“Churches and religious communities,” say Europe’s Catholic and Protestant leaders, “have an important role in building bridges and promoting a dialogue based on mutual respect and understanding.”

Christian Churches, they note, can help to enhance social cohesion and foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies.

08 July 2020, 16:50