Austrians, Spanish - Catalan, French, Poles, Ukrainians : SIIAEC met in Warsaw from 20 to 22 April for its statutory meeting on the theme "Solidarity in Europe".

Lectures from Members of European Parliament, University Professors and from the Representative of Pax Romana at the Council of Europe, allowed participants exchanging and reflecting on "fraternity" and "populism".  A series of points have thus emerged to help each of us to better understand and progress, personally and together on such important subjects.

Populisms insidiously influence judgments under the "appearance of good" and by manipulating the "fears", which are so sensitive to the human heart. In a world whose complexity is increasing and unpredictability is accelerating, it becomes reassuring to provide "simplistic" answers. Their validity seems based on an indisputable and universal clarity... while recent studies show that political lies progress all the faster as the level of education and critical thinking diminish.

Origine of Europe

Europe is a continent that has been wounded by so many wars including religious ones. The EU is an answer, a political project of peace wanted by those who had experienced the devastating effects of policies based on racist or nationalist ideologies. It is an union between peoples before being a set of treaties. This union is gradually built by “de facto” solidarities, economic activities being one of the means to achieve this.

    Then we have to remind the political thought of Robert Schuman, Alcide de Gasperi, Konrad Adenauer and many other prophets of our time, who objected to the humanitarian disasters during the two great wars in the 20th century. They believed that if nationalisms and narrow-minded national interests are rejected in favour of cooperation, solidarity and mutual confidence among nations, these nations will be able to live in peace what corresponds with the Christian roots of Europe.

Evolutions

    The context has changed a lot, the liberal approach of the global finance has become dominant, putting politics at its service, and creating inequalities and tensions. Hate politics have reappeared against the establishment, Brussels, foreigners, migrants, Jews or Muslims. Public communication has developed a lot at the service of economic or political interests, which resulted in a loss of confidence and conspiracy trends.

Today the peoples are very divided, both at the European level between East and West, North and South, big and small, and within countries. The anti-European positions are successful, although many believe Europe is needed in an unstable international context.

These divisions make difficult European decision-making, tax harmonization, foreign policy, and the management of many crises: Greek debt, war in Ukraine, terrorism, waves of migrants and refugees, Brexit ....

    The European Union was supposed to set good example of democracy, human rights and rule of law, meanwhile, nationalists and populists came to power in several EU countries, however, in the democratic way. They believe that political will is above law. We know this attitude from the recent history.

Sources of inspiration.

- In 1953, Robert Schuman contributed some profound ideas in an article for Pax Romana review in which he described "the necessary bases for a European Community": for building Europe it is not enough to establish European Institutions. “It would be like a body without a soul.”. "The peoples of the European Community must recognize their solidarity und trust in mutual cooperation. The peaceful relations between European nations must not only be based on legal contracts that can easily be resigned. There must not be only institutions but also connected interests. And: Our objective must be to establish a spiritual community between human beings and between nations".

- In November 2014 Pope Francis paid a visit to the European Parliament and to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg : today, the promotion of human rights is central to the commitment of the European Union to advance the dignity of the person, both within the Union and its relation with other countries. This contribution of Christians does not represent a threat to the secularity of states or to the independence of the institutions of the European Union, but rather an enrichment. Actually, there needs to be a united response to the question of migration. Europe will be able to solve the problems associated with immigration only if it is capable of clearly asserting his own cultural identity, protect the rights of European citizens and ensure the acceptance of immigrants.

- In 2017, 400 mostly young, Europeans –scientists, students, lawyer and artists met in Rome for the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. They presented an outstanding “Rome Manifesto” in which they reflect on the present situation of the EU and announce their commitment there:

“In the belief that the European Union of today is unfit to face the major challenges of our time, in acknowledgement that the European future is in the people’s hands, in the conviction that European unity, rather than division, is the best way forward,; We, as young Europeans, have come together 60 years after the signing of the Treaty of Rome to stand up for Europe. We believe that it is our duty as the next generation to contribute to the shaping of our common destiny, and we invite every European to join us in this endeavour.

 

What should we do ?

      We believe that the future depends on our ability to cooperate today. This involves moving from the fear and mistrust to encounter, dialogue, and commitment. All actors of civil society, to the extent of their means, are called to the vitality and the solidarity of the society. This is a challenge to which Pax Romana Icmica - Siiaec wants to contribute.

      We want to stress the spiritual foundations of the EU because a big project requires more than administrative rules or convergences of interest. The different religions and currents of thought that recognize the transcendent dimension of the human being should be associated to this reflection as well as Europe's cultural and social plurality.

     We also think that the situation that develops in the countries earlier belonging to the Soviet Bloc requires special attention.

How?

- Promote and share the actions of our movements at the local or national level that offer an experience of solidarity and democracy. For example the actions of the MEIC in Torino, the declaration of the KIK together with other NGO:  “Solidarity in truth / Truth and reconciliation calling for Polish Jewish reconciliation.

- Create at the European level a solidarity of sharing and analysing experiences, and deepening of the meaning of democracy in Europe, through the project "Listening and dialogue".

- Invite lay movements of intellectuals and professionals not members of PR/S to work together on these topics that concern us all. It is not necessary to become a member but it is essential to cooperate.

- Enhance cooperation between Miacs (International Movements of Specialized Catholic Action) for example by supporting their European projects. We share a common perspective with different approaches.

 - Invite the institutional Church to defend the human person in his dignity as a son of God, wherever he is threatened or despised, as well as to practise solidarity with the refugees and seek aid for them. Any xenophobic attitude is fundamentally contrary to Jesus Christ's message.

- Reinforce our cooperation with religious orders engaged in the same perspective from a different state of life.

- Support the action of international institutions, in particular the Council of Europe by promoting better connections with the local level.

The process

- Rewording of the statement

- Ratification of the statement by national European movements

- Sending the message to

European member movements, the Miacs, the religious orders with whom we work, the countries where we do not have any contact, to the President of the INGOs Conference of the CoE..  the national movements of the Miacs, the bishops and episcopal conference, the religious orders and others contacts of our members and movements.

- Implement the decisions and go on to be creative