Migration, Integration, and European Values: High-level meeting with religious leaders at European Commission
Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 2 dicembre 2016
Senior Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, and Mormon leaders gathered for the 12th annual high-level meeting at the European Commission. Held at the invitation of European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, this gathering focused on “Migration, Integration, and European Values: Putting values into action.”Participants discussed a range of concerns relating to the global crises resulting in widespread migration to Europe, including the emergence of increasingly divisive public discourse about refugees, hospitality as an expression of faith, and how to best help newcomers make a positive contribution in society. Several speakers discussed the historical religious makeup of Europe, including the longstanding presence of Islam on the continent. The work of the 24 October CEC-COMECE-CCME dialogue seminar with the European Commission fed into preparations for this high-level meeting.On the topic of this gathering Timmermans noted with appreciation the “intensive debate on the challenges we face in trying to make a success of the integrations of newcomers to European society.” He noted that “migration will be an element of our present and our future” and encouraged the religious leaders in their work in sharing values, respecting differences and fostering mutual understanding without looking for assimilation.
Ján Figeľ, European Commission special envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the European Union highlighted the importance of the Middle East as a meeting place for three major world religions, “If there is peace we feel it, if there is genocide or war we all feel it.”
At a press conference following the event, representatives from the churches in Europe urged all to avoid the simplification of complex situations and to cultivate a welcoming culture for refugees following examples from Christian scripture and tradition. In light of the coming of Christmas and celebration of the Word made Flesh, they stressed that it is impossible to worship God without love of neighbour.
High-level meetings and working level discussions are held regularly between the European Commission and churches and religious associations and communities as well as philosophical and non-confessional organisations. Since 2009 the dialogue with churches, religions, philosophical and non-confessional organisations is enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty. (photo: meeting)