Religious leaders debate war and EU’s future with EPP Group

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The EPP Group is meeting high-ranking representatives of Christian Churches and of Muslim and Jewish communities to debate the answer of religious communities to the war in Ukraine and their contribution to shaping the future of the European Union.

On Friday and Saturday in the Austrian capital of Vienna, Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople), Father Manuel Enrique Barrios Prieto (General Secretary of the Commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of the EU), Chief Rabbi Schlomo Hofmeister (Community Rabbi of Vienna), Imam Yahya Sergio Yahe Pallavicini (President of the European Muslim Leaders Council) and others will engage in an exchange of views with EPP Group Members.

Othmar Karas MEP, First Vice-President of the European Parliament, emphasised that both politicians and Churches share a responsibility for social cohesion in Europe: “Interreligious dialogue is of crucial significance for a democratic dialogue in the current times of crisis. It is essential for peace, social cohesion and the political acceptance of the necessary deepening of the European Union. We - the Churches and politicians - share a common responsibility for European society and the future of Europe.”

Jan Olbrycht MEP, co-Chairman of the EPP Group Working Group on Intercultural and Religious Dialogue, highlighted the role of religions in conflicts: “While discussing the role of churches in the context of the unprovoked Russian aggression in Ukraine, we must also look at the way and the content of their communication addressing the social issues. The Church and religions have an important influence on social and political processes. It is widely known that religion is listed as one of the factors cited among the causes of conflicts in the world, which is a natural consequence of religiosity being an important element of human identity.”

György Hölvényi MEP, also co-Chairman of the EPP Group Working Group on Intercultural and Religious Dialogue, concluded: ”This year’s Interreligious Dialogue conference is taking place under truly extraordinary circumstances. We must focus together on peace creation, security and the role of interreligious dialogue during the war. Through peace in Eastern Europe, we can preserve the stability of the EU as a whole. Peace is a precondition for stopping unbearable human sufferings. It is also a basis of social stability and economic development in times of existential dangers.”

The two-day event is the EPP Group’s 24th Annual Intercultural Dialogue with Churches and Religious Institutions.

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The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 176 Members from all EU Member States

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