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  In May 2019 European people will elect the new European parliament and according to many analysts this election is going to be crucial for the future of the European Union. The rising of political parties and movements which consider the EU as the responsible for the economic crisis and for its consequences in terms of social security strongly challenge the very basis of the political project of a Europe unite in the diversity and ruled by democratic and effective institution. This scenario questions the existence of a European political perspective, since an increasing number of member states are ruled by governments which asks for a return to the central role of national state. Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Austria, Italy claim a return to the protection of the “national interest” and relevant political movements in Germany (particularly in Bavaria and East Germany), France and Belgium support this same position.

       The recent vote of the European Parliament against the Hungarian government asks for the application of the article 7 of the treaty of the European Union, which allows the European institutions to subject a member state to sanction if there is an evident violation of one of the basic principles of the Union: democracy. It is well known that such request will not produce effects, since the final decision has to be taken by the European Council, where several governments, such as those of Poland, Austria and Italy, side with Mr. Orban’s government.

       This entire story is the most recent manifestation of the historical crisis that modern representative democracy suffers in Europe and America. Such a crisis concerns the understanding of what democracy is. Modern democratic practices rest upon the basic idea of creating explicit and inviolable limits to every exercise of power and authority, so that even the power of the people does not lack a bound which is fixed in the list of rights and duties of the citizens and of the different communities. On the other hand, the idea of democracy which is proper of several political movements in Europe and of Trump’s administration in the United States is based on the idea that the democratic process consists in the simple popular mandate which enables the winner of a presidential election or a majority in a Parliament to consider themselves as the only legitimate representatives of the “general will” of the nation.

The international Tainach Summer Conference 2018 of the Catholic Academics Association and the Catholic Education Centre Sodalitas on the topic "Thinking about a Europe of the future" started on Saturday evening with a brainstorming session of around 30 participants from Slovenia, Slovakia, Ukraine and Austria.

   The SIIAEC (*) Pax Romana Assembly held from 20th to 22nd April 2018 reflected on the question of Solidarity in Europe. The European Union was supposed to set good example of democracy, human rights and rules of law, but nationalists and populists have come to power in several EU countries, although in a democratic way. The situation in such countries, earlier belonging to the Soviet Bloc, requires special attention. Their ruling parties believe that political will is above law. We know of this attitude and its consequences from recent history. The aim of this statement is to invite our members to take part in the renewal of the EU project. 

From the beginning of his pontificate in 2013, Francis called on European Catholics to oppose the "globalisation of indifference" by mobilising themselves, in particular, to help migrants. Five years after Lampedusa, has Francis' message never been so hard to hear among European Catholics?  At the level of the baptized, parishes or Christian associations, a thousand acts of generosity are undoubtedly carried out. On the other hand, it has to be said that countries with a strong Catholic culture are falling one after the other into the camp of anti-immigration parties. Bavaria, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Italy now, by different but converging paths, have all joined the club of countries determined to defeat the European Union's policy of reception quotas.  Spain, which hosted the drifting Aquarius, and Portugal may be saving Catholic honour even if they are not on the most important migration routes. Halfway through, France is finding it difficult to get away from the moral stance. The emphasis of public speeches does not hide the difficulties of taking action.

   We live in turbulent times: Financial and economic crisis, Brexit, migration and refugee flows, globalisation of the economy and a worrying waiting trend for populist movements accompany us. The question is obvious: Is European democracy in danger? But there is no simple answer to this question. Extreme positions and one-sided considerations do not lead to anything. Only in a broad and objective discourse can we meet the challenges ahead, survive the changes of time and safeguard European democracy.

   A good example is the biggest economic, financial and sovereign debt crisis since hundred years, which we are just leaving behind more and more. The biggest problem of crisis management in 2007 and 2008 was that the euro is the only currency in the world that still has no national territory, no common budget policy and no common economic policy. But with this reality it was apparently intended to spare the people of Europe for a long time. It was not until the crisis that it had to be made clear that the "lack of Europe" and failures to develop the EU into a monetary, economic and social union were the main causes of Europe's inability to act.

     Actually the title named “The present EU and a new vision of Europe with Christian Perspectives” clearly marks one of the most important topics of our times for us as European citizens, and in fact for the whole world, since it means a lot to the world, weather Europe is in good shape or not, whether Europe is inspired or not, whether Europe is in peace and prosperity or not. What I want to share with you today are some insights in European history, some very personal opinions on our present time in Europe and an outlook on future perspectives. When I mention “personal opinions” I really mean it, and I identify myself as the thing you can call a catholic in my personal spirituality and faith, and as a Christian Liberal in my approach as a citizen and as a public servant.

     As a president of the Club of Catholic Intelligentsia in Warsaw I am honoured and happy to welcome you at this conference dedicated to the challenges that Christianity has to face in the contemporary Europe. Rapid progress in the technical civilization makes life of the people easier but - on the other side - confronts us with completely new problems and urges us to look for the appropriated understanding of new challenges and for finding correct responses to them. In particular this includes to find the good and comprehensive way of speech about main Christian values, because in the time of new medial communication and globalization, quite a lot of what some decades earlier had a clear and understandable meaning for all people of Europe, in the modern time became less clear or has changed the meaning.