Between the 24th and 26th October 2018, bishops of the European Union gathered in Brussels for the Autumn Assembly focusing on the 2019 European elections. Participants reflected on future EU challenges in dialogue with high-level officials of the Union, in particular with Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Luca Jahier (EESC) and Michel Barnier (European Commission).
The three-days Assembly started with a day of prayer in Ypres, one of the cruelest war theatres of WWI, and continued with intense and fruitful discussions on EU main challenges. Bishops reaffirmed the support of the Catholic Church for the peace project built thru the European Union and called political leaders to look to the future with responsibility, with no fear nor egoism, as well to promote youth, family and community-friendly policies.
Analysing the changing world of work and the effects of digitalisation on our societies with Luca Jahier, President of the European Economic and Social Committee, the Bishops highlighted the fundamental need to protect and promote the dignity of work and the centrality of the human person in the context of artificial intelligence.
Following the exchange with Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Bishops encouraged the EU to expand its action in favor of global peace and solidarity and to lead by example in implementing the rule of law for the benefit of all.
Concerned about Climate Change, the Assembly supported the Statement on Climate Justice signed today in Rome by Mgr Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ, President of COMECE, together with all the other presidents of continental Bishops’ Conferences, calling politicians to work towards an ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement.
Following the exchange with Michel Barnier, EU Chief Negotiator with the United Kingdom, Bishops expressed their concerns about the impact of Brexit on the daily life of citizens in the UK and all around Europe, and prayed for a sense of responsibility to prevail in the ongoing negotiations.
The bishops concluded the Assembly by calling Christians and all people of good will to discernment and responsibility and to fully participate in political life, working together for the common good, building bridges of dialogue and promoting an inclusive Europe capable of fully developing persons, families and communities.