Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 31 n° 301

Churches Meet the Hungarian EU Presidency

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 22 gennaio 2011

As part of the series of regular encounters between churches and the incoming EU Presidencies, a delegation of Hungarian and European church representatives was received by the Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orbán in Budapest. The Prime Minister was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén and the Secretaries of State Mihály Varga, Peter Szíjjárto, Zoltán Balog and László Szászfalvi as well as by several advisers.Prime Minister Orbán responded to the churches´ concerns and welcomed their active engagement with the Hungarian government during the forthcoming 6 months and beyond. He asked the churches for their support in bringing all European governments and societies to recognise that the integration of Roma communities should be a European, and not just a national commitment of some European governments. It will only be possible to improve the living conditions of Roma throughout Europe, if all European governments cooperate. Identification of best practices is a priority for the Hungarian EU Presidency, to which the churches with their experience and well- established relationships with Roma communities have much to contribute.
As one of the priorities of the Hungarian EU Presidency is to bring Europe closer to its citizens, the church representatives emphasised the involvement of civil society at large, as well as of religious communities in particular in the decision-making process on the European level. Prime Minister Orbán in his response acknowledged the difficulties of the European Institutions to get closer to the citizens. He encouraged the churches to maintain their important role as bridge builders, as churches are organised on the local, national and regional level and could, therefore, bring the “voice of the people” to the Institutions.
The churches´ delegation for the meeting with the Prime Minister reflected the plurality of churches in the Hungarian context. Under the leadership of Péter Cardinal Erdö (Roman Catholic), Bishop Dr Gusztáv Bölcskei (Reformed) and the Ecumenical Council in Hungary, the delegation included representatives from the Roman Catholic, Reformed, Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist and Orthodox Churches in Hungary. Due to the  specific tradition in Hungary, the delegation also included representatives from the Jewish community. The European church bodies were represented by Director Rev Rüdiger Noll of the Church and Society Commission of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and the General Secretary of the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences in the European Community (COMECE), Fr Dr Piotr Mazurkiewicz.
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is a fellowship of some 120 Anglican, Orthodox, Protestant, and Old Catholic Churches from all countries of Europe, and of 40 associated organisations. CEC was founded in 1959. It has offices in Geneva, Brussels and Strasbourg.

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