Swedish EU Presidency | COMECE participates in high-level meeting on loneliness held by Minister Forssmed

COMECE participated in the first high-level meeting on loneliness in the European Union. The event was held in Stockholm on 20-21 April 2023 by the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU. COMECE General Secretary Fr. Barrios Prieto: “Promoting community life is key to address loneliness”.

Group photo of the event “Loneliness – Policy options to combat loneliness and strengthening mental health in the EU” held in Stockholm by the Swedish EU Presidency on 20-21 April 2023. (Photo: Magnus Liljegren/Government Offices of Sweden)

Fr. Manuel Barrios Prieto, General Secretary of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), participated in the first high-level meeting on loneliness organised by the EU institutions.

The event was held on the initiative of Swedish Minister for Social Affairs and Public Health, Jakob Forssmed, within the framework of the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU.

In his contribution, Fr. Barrios Prieto highlighted the positive role played by Churches in tackling loneliness, “creating opportunities for community life, offering spaces for social interaction, arriving to persons and places where other institutions do not or cannot arrive. Promoting community life is key to address loneliness” – he stated. Click here to read some elements from Fr. Barrios Prieto’s intervention.

The aim of the event was to discuss loneliness and mental health from various perspectives and gain a better understanding of how EU, national and local policies should address these issues, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting was held in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Daniel and around 85 delegates from EU Member States, Churches, organisations and institutions.

In the upcoming weeks, a COMECE-CEC ecumenical delegation will meet with Minister Forssmed in Stockholm to exchange on the efforts of the current EU Presidency in addressing some of the most pressing challenges the European Union is facing today.

Fr. Barrios Prieto’s notes
Press Release of the Swedish EU Presidency