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Heartened by Barroso meeting

02 November 2006

CHRISTIAN, Jewish, and Muslim leaders had informal talks with the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, last week. The President has said that “dialogue, debate and democracy” are the way to tackle the future of Europe.

The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, told the meeting that, after the terrorist atrocities, responsible religious leaders were determined to show unity, defiance, and compassion.

In two hours of conversation, the Bishop was able to raise: the question of VAT on repairs to churches, a matter that the President hoped would be taken up urgently in a direct approach to Commissioner Kovacs; religious education; and concerns about the handling of questions of freedom of conscience and freedom of religion in accession talks with Turkey.

The Bishop welcomed the fact that channels of communication were “well and truly open”.

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