COMECE contributes to the theme of the Fundamental Rights Forum 2018
COMECE Secretariat expressed its position concerning the chosen topic of "belonging" in the context of the consultation launched by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights in view of the Fundamental Rights Forum 2018.
The consultation of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights was questioning the meaning of “belonging” for each participating organization. COMECE highlighted the link between belonging to a community and being able to live in a community in accordance with one's faith.
Emphasis was also placed on the structural importance in all policies of the first anthropological place of belonging, the family; as well as on the specific position of children, under the primary, shared guidance of the father and the mother.
Considerations were outlined on the need to counter discrimination on grounds of religion in the EU, as showing belonging to a religion may lead to discrimination by law/practice.
A positive understanding of "belonging" is required, rooted in human dignity and respect for diversity (e.g. cultural, religious, ethnical, etc.). The exploration of the meaning of EU citizenship is part of this context.
Concerning the focus of the Fundamental Rights Forum 2018, the proposed key elements were:
- full belonging through the protection of core fundamental rights, like conscientious objection and freedom of expression (even when not in line with the real or perceived mainstream in societies);
- justiciability of fundamental rights and, in particular, of the one to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
- cultural rights, respect for diversity (as defined above) and subsidiarity.
As for the institutional level, the contribution underlined the necessity to distinguish Article 11 TEU Dialogue (civil society) and Article 17 TFEU Dialogue (Churches and religious associations or communities). The Church is not an NGO, by nature, status and contribution.
Support was expressed for the revision of the Regulation establishing the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, so as to improve the procedures for its governance and functioning.
COMECE stands ready to deepen its contribution on these elements at the Forum, which will take place on 25-27 September 2018.