.- Speaking at the third Summit of Heads of State and Governments of the Council of Europe yesterday, Vatican representative Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo told Council members that Europe would only be an “agent of peace and civilization in the world” to the extent that it promotes human dignity and fundamental rights.
The summit is being held today and yesterday in Warsaw, Poland with prominent attendees from around Europe.
In his address, Archbishop Lajolo, Holy See’s secretary for Relations with States, reminded summit members of the deep Christian roots, which formed Europe’s history.
"Europe”, he said, “will be loved by its citizens and will serve as an agent of peace and civilization in the world only if it is animated by certain fundamental values: the promotion of human dignity and fundamental human rights, ... in the first place freedom of conscience and religion; the pursuit of the common good in a spirit of solidarity; and respect for national and cultural identity."
He highlighted that, "The pre-eminent role that Christianity has played in forming and developing this cultural, religious and humanistic patrimony is well known to all and cannot be ignored."
The archbishop also hit on new problems that European culture faces, saying that they "derive from the great world-wide problems handed down from the twentieth century: the nuclear threat, ... the emergence of forms of political and religious fundamentalism, large-scale migration of peoples and certain situations of dangerous instability," such as those "in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in the Kosovo region, both of which are in need of a reliable solution, which cannot be reached without providing effective guarantees for minorities."
The Archbishop likewise called for "a better coordination of European organizations," indicating that "the experience of the Council of Europe is particularly important because it sketches the outlines of what could become a blueprint for European society."
He also addressed the European Union, saying that, “it is in the juridical sector in relation to human rights that one finds further concrete possibilities for closer institutional cooperation.”
“The common commitment”, he said, “to corroborate the human rights and the legal protection of European citizens - reaffirmed by the will of the European Union to adhere to the European Convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental liberties - must be given adequate expression in the propositions to be presented by the Coordination Group created in December 2004."