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European voters want policies based on Christian values, politicians are told

05 April 2024

Alamy

A meeting of MEP Raphael Glucksmann for his European election campaign, near Rouen, France, on Wednesday

A meeting of MEP Raphael Glucksmann for his European election campaign, near Rouen, France, on Wednesday

EUROPEAN church leaders have urged people to vote in the coming elections to the European Parliament, while calling on politicians to apply Christian principles to current crises.

“A large proportion of citizens, who confidently look at the European future through the prism of Christian values, now feel marginalised, without an opportunity to express their positions and opinions in an autonomous and distinct way,” a joint statement from the Conference of European Churches and Roman Catholic and Orthodox leaders says.

“Values formerly taken for granted, such as peace, stability, prosperity, and the rule of law rather than rule by power, have now been torn apart — insecurity and fear dominate.”

The statement was published last month amid campaigning for the 6-8 June elections, the first since Brexit. It says that successive crises over immigration, health, energy, and economic growth have combined with “devastating wars” to highlight “ineffective decision-making”, and call into question “democratic principles and institutions”.

The exclusion of “any appropriate reference” to Christian values in European Union texts shows how the Christian tradition is being overlooked, the statement continues, although Churches still stand ready to help in “redefining the framework of priorities for a sustainable future for Europe”.

The statement is co-signed by the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union, the Conference of European Churches, the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, and the campaign group Together for Europe.

“Christian values, shared by a large part of European citizens, can guarantee a safe approach to the changes and challenges we face,” it says.

Seven EU-wide blocs will be contesting 720 seats, ranging from the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), led by the German Manfred Weber, which currently holds 178, to the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, led by the Spaniard Iratxe García Pérez, which holds 141.

The European Christian Political Movement, which claims to be the only formation “explicitly promoting Christian values”, will also be contesting the ballot.

The President of the European Commission, Dr Ursula von der Leyen, will seek backing for a second term of office.

In their statement, the Churches warned: “Fear motivates some citizens to seek solutions and spiritual support in an objectified and instrumentalised version of tradition — in such cases, the concepts of ‘homeland’ and ‘religion’ are weaponised, and dubious historical figures turned into heroes..

“All this takes place in a divided public place, increasingly characterised by polarisation, and influenced by disinformation distributed in digital social networks. . . We frequently notice the reality of parallel monologues, as well as the development of closed community groups in which opinions devoid of critical thinking and counter-argument are created.”

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