The Declaration of COMECE prior to the European Parliament elections in June is now an historical document. The Declaration recognises that the process of European integration is a work in progress. It is valuable because it is a benchmark against which we can measure that progress. It is also a checklist for Resurgence as we develop our policies based on Catholic Social Teaching. It is reproduced here in full without any further comment.
1 – European Elections: an opportunity to build a better Europe
After 64 years of peaceful development and 20 years since the fall of the Iron Curtain, which ended the division of the continent, the process of European integration deserves to be appreciated, in spite of some shortcomings. For this reason we, the Bishops of COMECE, support and promote the European Union as a project of hope for all its citizens.
Even in this unsettled time of financial and economic crisis, the European Union has proved to be a dependable home that strives to safeguard stability and solidarity among its members. Today, in 2009, the European Union has the capacity and the means to respond to the most urgent and pressing challenges of our age.
By participating in the European Parliament elections, all citizens have the opportunity to contribute to the development and improvement of the European Union.
2 – Participating in the elections: a right and a responsibility
The Catholic Church has supported the project of European integration since the very beginning and continues to do so. Every Christian, not only has the right but also the responsibility to be actively engaged in this project by exercising his or her vote.
The participation of Christians is essential in order to rediscover the ‘soul of Europe’, which is vital to fulfil the fundamental needs of the human person and the service of the common good.
The European Parliament, through its powers and competences (which would be further enhanced by the final ratification of the Lisbon Treaty), must contribute to these aspirations and goals.
3 – What Christians expect from the European Parliament
The basic principles of any society are Human dignity and the promotion of the Common Good. Therefore these principles must be at the very heart of all European Union policies.
Given the important role of the European Parliament, we expect the members of the European Parliament actively to participate and contribute towards the following:
– to respect human life from conception to natural death as integral to all European Union legislation, programmes and policies;
– to support the family founded on marriage – as understood between one man and one woman – as the basic unit of society;
– to advance the social rights of workers providing them with working conditions which respect their health, safety and dignity;
– to endorse economic governance based on ethical values in order to achieve sustainable human development within the European Union and at a global level;
– to promote justice in relationships of the European Union with developing countries through financial assistance and innovative partnerships;
– to demonstrate solidarity by shaping policies that help the weakest and poorest in our societies (in particular people with disabilities, asylum-seekers, migrants);
– to protect creation by fighting climate change and encourage a moderate lifestyle;
– to promote peace in the world through coordinated and coherent external EU policy.
Enlightened and guided by Christ’s teaching, Christians are ready and willing to help fulfil these aspirations, mindful of His Holiness Pope John Paul II’s assertion: “Christian inspiration is capable of transforming political, cultural and economic groupings into a form of coexistence in which all Europeans will feel at home” (Ecclesia in Europa, 121).