European churches press EU on poverty reduction policies

By staff writers
5 Oct 2010

A report urging action on poverty has been presented in the European Parliament by the main European Churches and associated organisations.

The text of the document, 'Do not deny justice to your poor people', based on a biblical injunction, contains 14 political recommendations addressed to the EU and the Member States.

If implemented they would ensure poverty in Europe would be drastically reduced, the churches say.

The document was presented on 4 October 2010 on the occasion of a conference opened by Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament, and attended by 150 participants.

The text highlights the common experience and convictions of European churches, the Catholic agency Caritas and Eurodiaconia.

It analyses the various aspects, causes and effects of poverty, and presents the joint recommendations of Caritas Europa, the Church and Society Commission of the Conference of European Churches (CSC of CEC), the Secretariat of COMECE (the Catholic mission to the European institutions) and of Eurodiaconia to the European Union institutions and to the Member States for a stronger social Europe.

MEPs from the four main political groups as well as representatives of the EU Commission and of the Belgian EU presidency have reacted positively to the proposals.

After publishing their reflections and recommendations on tackling poverty, the four Christian organisations are now offering EU policy makers permanent cooperation "in order to reach the ambitious but necessary target of eradicating poverty on our continent."

The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is an official network of some 120 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches from all countries of Europe, plus 40 associated organisations. CEC was founded in 1959. It has offices in Geneva, Brussels and Strasbourg.

The Church and Society Commission of CEC links member churches and associated organisations of CEC with the European Union’s institutions, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, NATO and the UN (on European matters). Its task is to help the churches study church and society questions from a theological and social-ethical perspective, especially those with a European dimension, and to represent common positions of the member churches in their relations with political institutions working in Europe.

The document on tackling poverty can be read in full here (*.PDF Adobe Acrobat document): http://www.ceceurope.org/fileadmin/filer/csc/Social_Economic_Issues/Pove...

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