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Les évêques d'Amérique latine et de l'Union européenne envoient un message au Sommet de Madrid

Press Release - 14 May 2002 Disponible uniquement en anglais The Presidents of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM) and the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) today sent a joint contribution to the Second Summit of Heads of State and Government from their regions, which takes place in Madrid on 17-18 May 2002.

At the conclusion of their Social Congress on "Latin America and the European Union: Together for the universal common good", in El Escorial (Madrid) on 13-14 May 2002, more than 150 cardinals, bishops and lay people from the two continents gave their acclaim to a joint message calling upon the Madrid Summit to:

- Give priority to the social dimension of economic development;

- Combat corruption by promoting an ethics of responsibility in business;

- Ensure the protection of the environment through effective political and legal instruments;

- Make structures of governance capable of meeting the challenges of globalisation through the modernisation of the state, more effective structures of regional integration and global co-operation, and the strengthening of civil society.

Bishop Jorge Enrique Jiménez Carvajal (Colombia, President of CELAM) and Bishop Josef Homeyer (Germany, President of COMECE) proposed the establishment of "Hope Commissions", based on the model of Truth Commissions, to promote original and innovative approaches to a more just development in Latin America. The congress was opened by José María Aznar, the Prime Minister of Spain and current President of the European Council, who told the participants that "the phenomenon of globalisation is not a threat but a great opportunity". He emphasised that "Europe and Latin America share such values as defending the dignity of the person and personal freedom" and added that "separation with collaboration is the political and social principle of the common history of Europe and Latin America and is the system which best reflects the values of democracy and freedom". Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State, sent a message to the congress on behalf of Pope John Paul II, expressing the hope that regional integration in both Europe and Latin America should be "an important step towards the globalisation of solidarity". António Guterres, the former Prime Minister of Portugal, said that the partnership between Latin America and the European Union should contribute towards a better system global governance. "If we can create a coalition against terrorism, we should be able to create an international coalition against poverty", he said.

For more information about the Madrid Summit, go to: Conclusions of the EU/LAC Madrid Summit Spanish Presidency of the European Union

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