The role of religion in European integration, the migration crisis and relations will top the agenda of the EPP Group’s 20th Annual Intercultural Dialogue with Churches and Religious Institutions in Zagreb, 7-8 December 2017.

“20 years of interreligious dialogue offers a historical perspective, with a timespan representing a third of the EU’s history. The importance and relevance of such dialogue increased enormously for Europe during the last two decades.

"Interreligious dialogue belongs to the core identity of the EPP Group. No other political group has this level of engagement. That experience will add to our discussions in Croatia at a crucial time of reflection on the future of Europe”, said György Hölvényi MEP, co-chair of the EPP Group’s Working Group on Intercultural Activities and Interreligious Dialogue.

Guest speakers will include the Prime Minister of Croatia, Andrej Plenković, and the President of the European People’ s Party, Joseph Daul. The conference will hear from EPP Group MEPs Mairead McGuinness, First Vice-President of the European Parliament responsible for dialogue with religions, Elmar Brok MEP, Alojz Peterle MEP and Othmar Karas MEP. Members of the Croatian Parliament and many religious representatives will also contribute to the discussions.

The 20-year milestone provides a unique opportunity for debate, according to Jan Olbrycht MEP, co-chair of the EPP Group’s Working Group on Intercultural Activities and Interreligious Dialogue: “On one hand, we will concentrate on the participation of churches in the debate on the situation in the Balkans. On the other hand, the meeting will provide an excellent opportunity to underline the importance of the interreligious and intercultural dialogue, which the EPP Group has been carrying out successfully for the last 20 years, and to take stock of that valuable experience as we shape future policies.”

On Thursday, attendees will discuss the role of religion in the European integration process and the current migration and refugee crisis. Meanwhile, Friday’s session will focus on religion, violence, peace and interfaith relations from a Croatian and South-Eastern European perspective.

Learning from past experience while working towards the future with the common goal of a peaceful co-existence is most important, Dubravka Šuica MEP, Head of the EPP Group Croatian Delegation added: “The diversity of religions can help us to build bridges of reconciliation for peaceful coexistence in a multi-religious society. Our common European responsibility is a frank and constructive dialogue, thus the fact that the 20th annual dialogue in Zagreb brings me great joy.”

NOTE TO EDITORS

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 217 Members from 27 Member States

"http://www.eppgroup.eu">www.eppgroup.eu from 09.00 hrs on Thursday 7 December and on Friday 8 December 2017.

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