Monday 6. December 2021

Opening Speech of Mgr van Luyn-COMECE Plenary

In his opening Speech, COMECE President Bishop Adrianus van Luyn, whose mandate as a COMECE Chair is about to end, made a review of the events which have marked the European Union in the past months.


In the context of the EU enlargement to Croatia and the start of negotiations with Serbia, he stressed the vital importance of reconciliation in the Balkan region, recalling that reconciliation was at the hearth of the European project:


"Overcoming old antagonisms between former enemies and opponents was the basic idea of Robert Schuman’s plan in 1950. A look at Europe – more than 60 years later – shows its effectiveness and confirms its timeliness.

One of Europe’s ancient conflicts – between Germany and France – has been settled. The reconciliation of Germany with its other neighbours, with the Dutch and Belgians, with Poland and the Czech Republic, has become a reality. The countries of south-eastern Europe can and must learn from this. At the same time, recent developments in different Member States of the European Union show us that resolving old conflicts and overcoming centuries of prejudice is not a matter of course, but always remains a task. Populist and nationalist tones in elections in recent months remind us of the need to remain vigilant."


On the economic and financial crisis, he asked:

"Why do people put together financial products which they must know could ultimately precipitate financial ruin for all of us? Will an economy one-sidedly fixated on linear growth even be possible in the future? How, given the challenges we are facing, can the economy, the environment, dwindling resources and raw materials and a still-growing world population be brought into balance? Does an economic model that assumes progressively “more” growth in quantitative terms hold any promise at all for the future, or must we accept the fact that we are going to have to make do with “less”?"


He added "An “age of less” in quantitative terms could, on the other hand, mean a great opportunity for a qualitative “age of more”: more human dignity, more community spirit and concern for the common good, a greater sense of responsibility for the deplorable situation in the poorer parts of our world, a determined commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, more solidarity with future generations – whose life-chances we are in danger of embezzling."


Download the full Speech in PDF


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