A delegation from CROCEU (Committee of the Representatives of the Orthodox Churches to the European Union) met with Her Excellency, Dr. Karin Kneissl, Austrian Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, in Vienna on the 13 July 2018. During the meeting opinions were exchanged on the priorities of the Austrian EU Council Presidency and other issues of common interest. CROCEU’s delegation was formed by the Very Rev. Archimandrite Aimilianos Bogiannou (Ecumenical Patriarchate), the Very Rev. Hegumen Philip Ryabykh (Patriarchate of Moscow), and the Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Ioannou (Church of Cyprus). The Representatives presented CROCEU’s points of view concerning the major priorities of the Austrian Presidency, as well as other issues:
- Security and the fight against illegal migration,
- Securing prosperity and competitiveness through digitalization and
- Stability in the European neighbourhood – EU perspective of the Western Balkans/South Eastern Europe as well as
- The Istanbul convention,
- And the European Year, which is, dedicate to cultural.
In a time of great challenges and upheavals both in the European continent and beyond, CROCEU underscored the importance of the Austrian Presidency’s motto, which is “A Europe That Protects”. CROCEU expressed its concern on refugees and migration policies, and reaffirmed the importance of developing more humane policies that will promote the values of Europe. Furthermore, CROCEU affirmed its intention to stand by the Austrian Presidency at this turning point when significant decisions have to be taken for the cohesion of Europe.
The delegation welcomed the development of new digital technologies, aiming at benefiting the good of the people, their security and prosperity. Nevertheless, the digitalization era brings new challenges for Europe. The fear of total digital control and the constantly shrinking private sphere are some of the concerns expressed by CROCEU.
Concerning the European Integration Process of the Western Balkans/South Eastern Europe, CROCEU’s members expressed their concerns about the protection and preservation of the Orthodox Churches and Monasteries in Kosovo and Cyprus, as well as the protection of the rights of the Orthodox Christians in Ukraine.
Finally, CROCEU’s members expressed their gratitude to Her Excellency, the Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs and expressed their willingness to promote cooperation with the European Institutions and to contribute in the implementation of the Article 17 of the Lisbon Treaty.