Religion digs itself deeper into the EU policy-making bodies

The churches (COMECE for the Catholics, CEC for the Protestants, Anglicans and Orthodox) have published their new demands for a greater say in EU decision-making under “Article 17”, reports David Pollock, president of The European Humanist Federation.

As we now report on our website in a submission to the three EU Presidents (of the Commission, Council and Parliament) they start by stressing the religious basis of their contribution (“grounded in the gospel... the earth as God’s creation... each human being is created in God’s image...”) before going on to demand a “deepening and widening” of “existing dialogue practices”. They welcome the resolution of the European Parliament on 13 January 2009 that one-sidedly “stresse[d] that ... there needs to be an open, transparent and regular dialogue between the Union and churches and religious communities” and they propose that they be called routinely as witnesses at Parliamentary hearings.

They propose that the dialogue be extended from the Commission, Council and Parliament to all the EU’s numerous agencies. They look for “a further increase in the already high level of readiness of EU civil servants or politicians to engage in a dialogue with the churches”. The dialogue should be both collective and with individual churches. There should be “common content preparation prior to the events” and collaboration on any follow-up. And in line with their previous demand for pre-legislative consultation, they propose an annual meeting “in due time before the Commission unveils its strategy for the coming year and its legislative and work programme”.

CEC reports that “all of EU institutions have reacted positively to the text” and meetings on implementation are being arranged. The prospect is therefore for this deeper, wider engagement of the churches in EU affairs on a scale that will be difficult to monitor, let alone to counter.

See also: Poland’s growing faith divide