Bishops offer their observations for the renewal of the European Union’s Lisbon Strategy
The Executive Committee of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community today tendered their contribution on the renewal of the European Union’s Lisbon Strategy in anticipation of the Spring European Council, to be held from 22-23 March 2005.
In this discussion paper, the Executive Committee highlights the integral nature of the European social model in the drive to increase the competitiveness of Europe’s economy. The Lisbon Strategy is dependent on the successful synergy of its social, economic and environmental ambitions. Therefore, this paper re-iterates the need to appreciate, respect and invest in the European social model so that it is in a healthy position to support Europe’s economic and environmental objectives, and the generations to come.
In two sections, the paper first contextualises the vision of the European social model from the perspective of Catholic social teaching. This section pays particular attention to the intrinsic dignity of the human person and how society should be ordered and prioritised in order to allow for human development, in terms of the family, education, employment and social protection, working life and the environment.
The second section goes on to identify eight areas which are of particular importance in the re-organisation of the Lisbon Strategy for the European social model. It seeks to highlight the risks that may be incurred should the present European social model be funded at the expense of future generations, whilst advocating a European Family Strategy so that families are not sidelined in the pursuit of a renewed Lisbon Strategy.
The paper also recognises the importance of nurturing Europe’s values, particularly their transferral between peoples and generations. It calls for an deeper dialogue between science and research, and philosophy and theology in order to determine common values and objectives. Inaccessible employment, the completion of the internal market and social services, the harmonisation of the basis of corporate tax and Europe’s consumption of fossil fuels provide further areas for reflection and need of redress.
The members of the Executive Committee are:
- Bishop Josef Homeyer, Bishop Emeritus of Hildesheim, Germany (President of COMECE);
- Bishop Adrianus van Luyn SDB, Bishop of Rotterdam, Netherlands (Vice-President);
- Archbishop Hippolyte Simon, Archbishop of Clermont, France (Vice-President);
COMECE is a commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of the member states of the European Union.