The Culture and the Contents of the dialogue with the European Institutions was the theme of this year s Church and Society Commission of CEC s Annual Plenary meeting, which took place in Brussels, Belgium, from 25 to 28 May.
New opportunities for engaging with the European Institutions have emerged following the entry into force of Article 17 of the Lisbon Treaty. A year and a half after its adoption, Churches took stock of the success of the implementation of their institutional dialogue with European Union.
This dialogue takes place in diverse forms: annual meetings between religious leaders and the EU Presidents, dialogue seminars, meeting with EU Presidencies, and frequent meetings at the working level. The registration of the Church and Society Commission of CEC on the Transparency Register is the decision made with a view to ensuring a wide and coherent approach. It will allow for regular and non-bureaucratic exchanges to complement the formal Dialogue process.
The Churches are committed to operating in the public sphere as responsible and competent partners for the European Institutions. They speak with a common voice and make sure this voice is heard.
The culture and the contents of the dialogue with EU officials were discussed with Mr. Michael Daumer, policy adviser for religion and external affairs in the European External Action Service (EEAS), Mr. Jorge Cesar das Neves, responsible for churches and religious communities and communities of faith and conviction in the Bureau of European Policy Advisors (BEPA) and Mr. Fearghas O'Beara, adviser in the cabinet of the President of the European Parliament. The Church and
Society Commission of CEC also decided to:
a. join the Sunday Alliance network;
b. finalise a Human Rights Training Manual for European Churches;
c. continue the dialogue with the Latin-American Council of Churches on globalisation;
d. support member churches in the preparation process towards the World Council of Churches Assembly in 2013.