COMECE gathered Church representatives, EU policy-makers and civil society actors at the European Parliament, in Brussels, on Thursday 25 May 2023, in a roundtable dedicated to the war in Ukraine and on-going security challenges in the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood. Mgr. Vokál: “The EU needs to offer to the continent a renewed strategic vision for stability, justice and peace”. Read Mgr. Vokál’s speech
Against the background of Russia’s on-going brutal military aggression against Ukraine and other instabilities at EU’s Eastern borders, the participants of the event organised by COMECE and hosted by MEP Miriam Lexmann, discussed the role of the EU in working towards a lasting peace in the region.
Among the participants were members of the COMECE Commission on EU External Relations, whose newly elected President, H.E. Mgr. Jan Vokál (Czech Republic), stated: “The unjust and inhumane military aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine has not only brought horrific suffering to the innocent people in Ukraine, but it has also shaken up the whole security architecture in Europe and beyond”.
Building upon the words of Pope Francis recently addressed to the Assembly of EU Bishops in March 2023, Mgr. Vokál pleaded for the elaboration of a ‘European Peace Strategy’ and he urged the EU to offer “a renewed strategic vision for stability, justice and peace, rooted in a strong value basis and with respect for human dignity at its core”.
With the on-going war on European soil and the application of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia for a future EU membership, the EU enlargement regains strategic importance for peace and prosperity in our region. “Recognising the diversity of the countries and their free choices – Mgr. Vokál continued – those aspiring for closer ties with the European Union or even a future membership, should be allowed to embark on this path”.
The roundtable at the European Parliament also featured the participation of Rev. Fr. Ihor Shaban, Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Commission for Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenical Affairs.
He expressed gratitude for EU’s solidarity efforts with Ukraine and its suffering people, while calling for continued unity in this support.
In the margins of the event, COMECE facilitated a series of bilateral meetings between Rev. Shaban and representatives of the European Commission and the European External Action Service. These dialogue meetings were an opportunity to present first-hand information about the situation on the ground and to exchange views on concrete ways of EU’s support.
The event, entitled “The war in Ukraine and on-going security challenges in the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood – towards lasting peace and European integration”, builds upon the continued actions and initiatives of COMECE in solidarity with Ukraine and in view of promoting lasting peace in Europe.