Press Release

Churches affirm their role in shaping Europe’s future ahead of EU elections

Churches affirm their role in shaping Europe’s future ahead of EU elections. Heads of four European organisations, representing diverse Christian Churches and entities, have issued a joint declaration ahead of the 2024 European elections, affirming their commitment to work together with the European institutions, MEP candidates and political parties to promote a positive European agenda that takes its inspiration from Christian values, also strengthening Article 17 TFEU dialogue. Watch Mgr. Crociata’s video-message | Read the joint declaration: EN | FR | DE

The joint declaration, issued on Wednesday, 20 March 2024, is signed by the heads of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), the Conference of European Churches (CEC), the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO) and Together for Europe.

The declaration emphasises the importance of recognising Christian values as the foundation of the European project. Churches, therefore, advocate for the integration of Christian values into political platforms and pre-election campaigns, and simultaneously calls for a stance against the misuse of religion for political ends. Finally, the declaration encourages the EU to implement Article 17 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which foresees an open, transparent and regular dialogue between Churches and the EU.

The declaration expresses concern over the repercussions of successive economic, immigration, health, and energy crises affecting Europe and the world, alongside the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and the Holy Land. “These challenges are accompanied by a broader crisis of values in the European area, which calls into question democratic principles and institutions. European citizens have also become more aware of the difficulty within European decision-making centres to respond effectively to these realities,” reads the document.

The Churches feel that they are called to contribute to redefining the framework of priorities for a sustainable future for Europe. Churches notice the “exclusion of any appropriate reference to Christian values in relevant EU texts” and the disappointment of “a large proportion of citizens, who confidently look at the European future through the prism of Christian values, and now feel marginalised, as they do not have the opportunity to express their positions and opinions in an autonomous and distinct way”. In this context, Churches call to invert the trend and to ensure the widest possible participation of citizens in the decision-making process and management of European affairs.

The declaration also emphasises that when values for peace are at risk, insecurity and fear dominates a large part of citizens’ views on the future of Europe and the world. “Fear motivates some [citizens] to seek solutions and spiritual support in an objectified and instrumentalised version of tradition, sometimes disguised as an appeal to ‘traditional values’. In such cases, the concepts of ‘homeland’ and ‘religion’ are weaponised, and dubious historical figures are turned into heroes,” the statement stresses.

Christian values, embraced by a large segment of European citizens, offer a dependable framework for addressing today’s changes and challenges. This is particularly relevant in the context of the upcoming European elections, a critical juncture for our democracies. “It is useful – if not essential – for European factions to take into account Christian values in European politic, especially on critical issues and in a labyrinthine political landscape where citizens are particularly concerned about any shifting and unstable norms.”

Read full text of the joint declaration: EN | FR | DE

Watch the video messages: