COMECE participates to expert meeting on religion and human rights
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) seems to be willing to mark a new openness to Churches and religious communities, as a wide-ranging expert meeting was organised on the nexus between religion and human rights.
The event, held in Vienna on 12-13 September 2017, highlighted the past and present, paramount contribution of Churches and religious communities in the area of fundamental rights.
COMECE was invited to actively participate and to express the view of the Catholic Church in the discussions. This new initiative could be seen as a positive implementation of Article 17 TFEU Dialogue on the part of the EU Agency.
Religious literacy and respect for the role of religion in the public square were among the priority themes presented by COMECE, together with the need for a more balanced and legally sound approach to non-discrimination and freedom of religion.
COMECE will strive to foster, through bilateral contacts, improvements to the approach of the Agency to certain policy areas and welcomed the continuation of similar exercises of Dialogue between the FRA Agency and religious actors, in a spirit of mutual respect.
In the context of the event, COMECE recalled the importance of having specific Dialogues for religious and non-religious actors, thereby complying with EU primary law (Article 17(3) TFEU). According to the Treaties, such a setting is necessary to allow Churches and religious communities to fully express themselves without any dilution or dispersion of discussions, in full respect of their nature and functioning.
This event has also been an opportunity for COMECE to highlight some specific elements of the contribution it made to the Fundamental Rights Forum, which the FRA Agency will organise in September 2018 on the theme "Belonging".