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Bishop Josef Homeyer, President of COMECE, welcomes Joschka Fischer's proposals for deeper European Integration

COMECE President welcomes Joschka Fischer's proposals

Press Release - 17 May 2000 On 12 May in a speech to Berlin's Humboldt University, the German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer presented his personal ideas about the way towards a European federation. The President of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) Bishop Josef Homeyer made the following remarks on this proposal to the German press agency KNA on 17 May 2000.

The ideas proposed by the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Joschka Fischer are remarkable: the simplification of enhanced co-operation within the EU Treaties, the creation of a European "centre of gravity" made up of some core states linked by a basic treaty, and eventually a comprehensive European federation. The process that is proposed would open up the possibility of a genuine community of all Europeans. The Church can only welcome such a proposal, and I should like to thank Foreign Minister Fischer for this. He has done a great service in bringing together with clarity and courage a series of reflections made over recent months and years. Statement by Bishop Josef Homeyer on the speech given by German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer on 12 May 2000. Now is the time to reflect upon the "deliberate and political act of re-setting the foundations of Europe", of which the German Foreign Minister spoke. We can only hope that the heads of government and the foreign ministers of France and Germany will take an initiative in this direction at their forthcoming meeting. It is clear that a declaration with an invitation to an international conference will not suffice. A new founding act of Europe will require the solid support of the citizens of the countries concerned. This cannot happen immediately, but only after the conclusion of the current intergovernmental conference. The present member states should contribute to making possible the enlargement of the EU, which is nothing less than the Europeanisation of the Union. It is only when the internal reform of the Union - which is so necessary for the accession of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe - has been completed that we can continue along the path proposed by Minister Fischer. If not, this good intention of creating a solid core or centre of gravity for a transitional period might actually be interpreted as an attempt to prevent the rapprochement between Eastern and Western Europe. We should not lose sight of the grand vision of a free and united Europe from 1989. The speech of the German Minister for Foreign Affairs may have the effect of enlivening the current intergovernmental conference. That in itself would be a great success. The speech deserves in any case to be discussed and debated in depth across Europe. It is my hope and desire that we will find a way out of the present crisis in the EU with the help of this initiative from the private individual Joschka Fischer. Bishop Josef Homeyer Hildesheim, 17 May 2000 Bishop Josef Homeyer is the Bishop of Hildesheim, Germany and President of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE). COMECE is made up of delegates from the Bishops' Conferences of the European Union, with a permanent secretariat in Brussels. For the last few years, the Bishops' Conferences of the candidate countries have been invited to participate as observers. The mission of COMECE is to accompany the process of European integration through information and action.

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