.- The Conference of European Union Bishops (COMECE) Executive Committee has issued a statement ahead of Europe Day (May 9, 2006) in which they welcome reflection on the future of Europe as well as positive initiatives of the European Commission but warm that debates must continue in the determination of Europe’s identity.
The executive committee of the COMECE includes President Bishop Adrianus van Luyn SDB, Bishop of Rotterdam, Netherlands, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, Ireland (Vice-President) and Auxiliary Bishop Piotr Jarecki, Auxiliary Bishop of Wasaw (Vice-President).
In welcoming the initiatives to reflect upon the future of the European Union, the COMECE Executive Committee highlights that “at present the European Commission’s proposals are not sufficient to actually revive the debate on the future of Europe particularly in light of the indifference demonstrated by many citizens and politicians towards the European Union (EU).”
They call upon those responsible for Member States and European institutions to turn their attention to the problems of Europe with renewed energy and to establish a workable framework for the European Union to facilitate the building of a more just society.
In their statement, released Friday, the bishops observe that the European Union must place the human being and its inalienable dignity at the heart of its efforts to build a just society. They also identify the need for greater account to be taken of the Christian faith and the ethical convictions of many people in Europe, while maintaining a corresponding regard for other faiths and beliefs.
“It is vital”, they wrote, “that our leaders concentrate on shaping better and more democratic structures. Reform of the EU’s current treaties would play a major role in resolving some of the major challenges confronting the EU in particular in economic and foreign policy.”
The Bishops are convinced that necessary reforms can be achieved through the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe. The debate on the future of Europe should therefore concentrate on the Constitutional Treaty so as to facilitate ratification of the treaty in all the Member States and establish a uniform political and legal framework for the European Union, they say.
The Bishops likewise emphasized that the Church is prepared to make its own special contribution to shaping a just society in Europe. It is, however, the citizens and in particular, the politicians, who bear responsibility for building such a society.
The Bishops encouraged all citizens and politicians “to face up to this responsibility with renewed energy and to advance the building of a just society in Europe.”
COMECE is a Commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of the member states of the European Union. The Bishops’ Conferences of Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania have observer status.