Refugees, Migrants, Integration: Proposals of the European Bishops to the EU
COMECE welcomes in principle the conclusions of the European Council on 17 December 2015 and the concrete steps they entail for the implementation of measures concerning the reception, support and relocation of refugees in the European Union. Nevertheless it is to be regretted that the Member States were not encouraged to take further steps for the integration of the asylum seekers.
Ahead of the European Council, the President of COMECE, Reinhard Cardinal Marx, has addressed to the decision makers a letter with an analysis and reflections on the issue of migration, refugees and integration. His thoughts were inspired by a document prepared by Bishop Ägidius Zsifkovics (Austria) as COMECE co-ordinator of refugee, migration and integration policy.
Furthermore COMECE is currently planning a meeting in the beginning of 2016 with Bishops from some countries of origin, transit and destination of the refugees and migrants. This encounter is meant to coordinate and decide the possible actions and measures in the field of migration and integration.
Cardinal Marx, in a letter to his brothers bishops in Europe, also called for more commitment and courage: “We must encourage public authorities, civil society and the faithful in our respective countries to strengthen their solidarity towards those in need, including migrants and refugees who are crossing or coming to our lands. For us, Christians, it is imperative to love our neighbour and welcome the stranger. The extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy in 2016 is an excellent occasion to remind ourselves that ‘welcoming others means welcoming God in person!"