CPCE on incoming European Commission

The Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE) congratulates the incoming Commission and newly appointed Commissioners, and wishes them God’s blessing for their term in office. It conveys its respect for the new Commission and its members, who are assuming office at a very difficult juncture for Europe. Exactly 100 years after the outbreak of the First World War, 75 years after the start of World War II, but also 25 years on from the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of Europe’s division into East and West, as well as 10 years after the acceptance of many Central and Eastern European states into the European Union, the process of European integration remains both a gift and an ongoing task. The General Secretary of the CPCE, Bishop Dr. Michael Bünker, points out that “the European integration and peace process is a blessing and gift for Europe. However, to a certain extent, the people of Europe now need convincing afresh of the value of this process, which calls upon the European Commission to make use of its right of initiative to tackle common European challenges in a focussed and comprehensible manner.” At its 7th General Assembly in Florence, the CPCE reiterated this conviction with the following words: “Any solutions that are proposed and decisions that are made must be measurable in terms of the help they afford to the people and societies affected, as well as their contribution towards maintaining the process of European integration and promoting solidarity throughout the world.” The CPCE expects the following key issues to predominate during years to come – overcoming unemployment and vanquishing the growing poverty in Europe; climate protection and the sparing use of energy and our natural resources; but at the same time, fundamental reform of policy on asylum and refugees to prioritise protection for refugees and resolving the roots of their predicament. The crisis in recent years has caused societies in Europe to drift apart in economic terms. The CPCE maintains that European politics must endeavour to counter this trend and do the utmost to reverse it. “During the years that the crisis prevailed, the impression also arose that crucial decisions in the European Union were being made as though there were no alternative,” Bünker observes, “Despite the fact that this not only contradicts our democratic perception of Europe as thriving on the rich diversity of opinions, experiences and ideas in this continent, but also prevents the participation and involvement of its citizens and thwarts the acceptance of any decisions that are made in this manner.” Finally, the CPCE recalls to mind that the process of European integration started off as a project for peace, but that it is today faced with violent conflict in its immediate vicinity and a war raging in the Middle East. The CPCE employs all its available means to promote peace both in and between societies. “We ask and expect the new Commission to act consistently and resolutely in partnership with other forces to help resolve these conflicts,” says General Secretary Bünker. The CPCE, which perceives itself as a unity of reconciled diversity, assures the members of new European Commission of its intercession as well as its willingness to act – alongside other European ecumenical associations – as a constructive partner in any talks the Commission might wish to instigate.

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