Members of the European Parliament presented to the Vice Prime Minister Gianfranco Fini a petition signed by more than 650,000 people calling for the inclusion of a reference to the “Christian heritage” in the future EU Constitution.

The petition, which received the support of 143 members of the EU Parliament and of various NGOs, was presented in Rome by a delegation headed up by Helene Monfort of France and Dana Scallon of Ireland.

 While Spain, Poland and Portugal support a reference to Christianity in the text’s preamble, the latest proposal by the EU Presidency, currently held by Italy, does not include any such reference.  However, the Italian representatives in the EU parliament have show favorable signs towards the proposal, but they prefer to leave the matter for member states to decide during final negotiations.   

The governments of Belgium, Finland, and especially France, which has frequently argued in favor of a secular definition of the EU, form the strongest opposition to the mention of Christianity in the document.     

“We are not motivated by religious or confessional reasons.  What concerns us is that the EU institutions be secular and democratic, something that only the Christian heritage of Europe guarantees, inasmuch as Christianity established from the beginning the separation of religion from temporal power,” explained Mario Mauro of the Italian delegation.