The Union shall establish an economic and monetary union whose currency is the euro: in his address to the 27 leaders of the EU, Martin Schulz quoted Article 3, Paragraph 4 of the Lisbon Treaty, to remind them that the euro is the Union currency and that a joint effort is needed to protect this currency in a spirit of responsibility and solidarity. The president of the European Parliament also said that the financial transaction tax brings a double dividend because it curbs the scope for some particularly risky forms of speculation and provides a source of tax revenue. He went on to add: support for Europe is dwindling. In the short term we need to break the vicious circle of debt and speculation. In the medium and long term, however, we need to alleviate the social hardship which our reform policies are bringing with them. Referring to the Growth Pact being discussed at the Summit, he said: The Growth Pact is important because it sets Europe on the right course. But we must also think about what comes after the Growth Pact. In particular, we must think about how long-term growth measures for all European citizens can be funded. One thing is certain - a shrunken, pared-back EU budget is not the solution, Schulz said. Then he suggested: A properly funded EU budget which targets spending where it is really needed can provide enormous stimulus for growth.
(Sir Europe - Brussels) - Today, people throughout Europe are casting worried eyes towards Brussels, towards this summit meeting, because they fear that our European project is one step away from disaster. Today we must show that we believe in the European project. Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, opened the work of the European Council with a speech which touched on the historical, economic and political aspects of European integration. Forging visions for our shared future is certainly a noble task, and in the long term we need a banking union, a fiscal union and a political union. But plans for the day after tomorrow, however important they may be, should not distract us from the pressing challenges of today. According to the German politician, Europes fate now hinges on our ability to come up with a convincing response to the debt crisis and set a course for growth. However tough the negotiations on the technical details may be - he said -, we must never lose sight of one thing: it is our shared future which is at stake. Schulz added: Over the next six to twelve months we should, together, take every feasible short-term measure to stimulate growth, create jobs, end the credit squeeze and make taxation fairer. (continued)
(Sir Europe - Bratislava) - The logo, anthem and banners for the forthcoming Year of Ss. Cyril and Methodius are available on the website of the Press Office of the Bishops Conference of Slovakia free of charge. We are pleasantly surprised at the interest shown in this Jubilee Year by parishes, various institutions and individuals. Our Press Office wants to provide gratuitous access to all visual and audiovisual symbols and attributes of the event especially for the electronic and printed media, to make celebrations of the 1150th anniversary of Ss. Cyril and Methodiuss arrival to our region uniform in using common characteristic signs for the variety of activities, explains Jozef Kovacik, director of the Press Office. The Bishops Conference has also prepared an easy-to-browse information dossier containing news and a list of events to be held. The Year of Ss. Cyril and Methodius will be officially opened on 5 July in Nitra and it will culminate on 15 September 2013, on the feast of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, patroness of the country, in Sastin. For more information: www.tkkbs.sk.
(SIR Europe - Brussels) - Most of all, the Council of Europe fears the domino effect; the summit of the 27 EU heads of state and government has just begun, including also President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, ECB President Mario Draghi, and High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton. Fear of contagion between countries with budget difficulties was the subject of a series of declarations by the leaders, when they arrived at the Justus Lipsius building. Five countries have already asked for EU help: Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Spain, and last but not least, Cyprus. A few leaders fear consequences for Italy. Among other things, one of the countries at the core of the debate, that is Cyprus, will hold the rotating presidency of the EU from Sunday, July 1st (the presentation of the six-month programme in Brussels by Vice Minister of European Affairs Andreas Mavroiyannis is scheduled on July 2nd). Until beginning of works, there have been diverging declarations about Eurobonds, financial transaction tax, financial stability facility, and growth measures. The women sitting at the summit table are just four: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Danish Prime Minister (and rotating President) Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, and Ashton herself (EU).
(Sir Europe - Bratislava) - A creation of European network of committed Christians who pay attention to European legislation, are able to adopt an attitude towards it, react to various situations, evoke action in various countries, overcome prejudices and cooperate with religious communities, CCEE, COMECE and other European platforms. With these words Katarína Hulmanová, secretary of the European Forum of National Laity Committees (EFNLC), described the principal aims of this organization. Representatives of 16 member countries will meet on 29 June-2 July in Vienna, to reflect on topics regarding the 50th anniversary of II Vatican Council, under the motto: Christians should work as human beings of the Church in the midst of the world and as human beings of the world in the midst of the Church (Puebla No. 786). Together we seek the ways to get involved in the Church life and in society as Catholic lay people, to help and be close to each other in the service to God, the Church and the whole world, explains Hulmanová, emphasizing the importance of this role in contemporary times when essential human values are questioned. The study assembly of the EFNCL will deal with topics like vocation and mission of lay people according to II Vatican Council, calling of lay people to the service of salvation, or main tasks of the laity for the introduction of Christian values in todays European societies.
(SIR Europe - Brussels) - It is time for the citizens of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus to enjoy the same benefits granted to Greek Cypriots, since they are also citizens of the European Union, in fact: said Stefan Füle, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy. The concept was openly confirmed by the Turks of Cyprus themselves, arriving in Brussels in these days, during the European summit, in order to let the heads of state and government meeting for the EU Council understand their message. Yesterday, a few hundred people marched in the streets of the European district to assert their right to be regarded as European citizens and to get out of the isolation in which they feel to have been secluded for years. Legal rights, right of vote as well as support to foster development of trade and tourism, and participation in EU training projects are the requests made by the Turks from Cyprus, who are not the only ones taking advantage of the EU summit to make their voice heard. This afternoon, youth coming from all over the EU are flash mobbing in Luxembourg Square, Brussels: The noise which will be heard during the EU Council will be the voice of the civil society asking for coordinated European solutions to face current problems, said the organisers.
Alvaro del Portillo, the successor of Saint Josémaria Escrivà de Balaguer as Opus Dei leader, and Father Giuseppe Puglisi, priest from Palermo, Italy, killed in 1993, will be blessed. Their names, together with the ones of another 14 servants of God, are included in the decrees whose promulgation by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints was authorized by Benedict XVI today, during a private hearing given to the Prefect of the body, Card. Angelo Amato. The decrees are about two miracles ascribed to the intercession of the venerable servants of God, Father Luca Passi and Francesca De Paula De Jesús; they acknowledge martyrdom of Father Puglisi as well as Msgr. Emanuele Borrás Ferré, Father Ermenegildo of the Assumption, Sister Victoria de Jesus and an Indian layman, Devasahayam (Lazarus) Pillai. Moreover, the Pope formally recognised the heroic Christian virtues of Msgr. Del Portillo; Card. Riario Sforza, former archbishop of Naples; Msgr. Fulton Sheen, former archbishop of Newport; Father Ludwig Tijssen; Father Cristobal of St. Catherine; laywoman Mary of the Sacred Heart; Sister Angeline Teresa; Sister Maria Margit Bogner; and Sister Ferdinanda Riva. Last 10 May, Benedict XVI authorised promulgation of the decree about the martyrdom of Servant of God Juan Huguet y Cardona. Of the future blessed, 6 are Spanish, 3 Italian, and 2 Indian. Moreover, there are one Brazilian, one Canadian, one Irish, one Dutch, one from the US, and one from Hungary.
(Sir Europe - Bratislava) - The European Union for Progressive Judaism and Hungarys two Reform congregations took their case against Hungarys new law on religion to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. According to the website http://jta.org, two synagogues - Sim Shalom and Bet Orim - said in a statement that on Tuesday 26 June they had submitted an application to the Court concerning the violation of their human rights caused by the entry into force of the new Hungarian Church Law. The new bill, which came into force on 1 January 2012, grants official recognition to only three streams of Judaism in Hungary: Neolog (Hungarian Conservative), Orthodox and Status-quo (associated with Chabad Lubavitch) congregations. The two Reform communities consider the law on religion illegal and discriminatory, reads the statement, and have already called on the Hungarian Constitutional Court to annul it. From 1 January, an association must have at least 1,000 supporting signatures delivered to the Parliamentary Religious Affairs Committee with following promulgation of application by the parliament plenary session. Among the conditions stipulated by the new law there is a request that the community must have either operated at an international level for the past 100 years or have been functioning as an organisation for at least 20 years in Hungary.
The Pope praised the Lord for the rediscovery of the deep relations of brotherhood binding us and for the progress made by the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church in these years, expressing the hope that progress can be made also in the current phase. Then he recalled the unforgettable Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras and the celebration of the 40th anniversary of his death in a few days. Athenagoras, Blessed John XXIII and the Servant of God Paul VI - Benedict XVI recalled - have taken bold initiatives paving the way for renewed relations between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Catholic Church. I am very pleased - the Pope continued - to see that His Holiness Bartholomew I is following, with renewed fidelity and fruitful creativity, the path traced by his predecessors, patriarchs Athenagoras and Dimitrios, becoming known around the world for his openness to dialogue with Christians and for his commitment to the proclamation of the Gospel in the contemporary world. Thanking the members of the delegation for their presence, Benedict XVI asked them to extend to Bartholomew I his sentiments of fraternal affection and sincere gratitude, assuring them of his prayers that the Lord may grant him health and strength and bestow upon the Ecumenical Patriarchate gifts of prosperity and peace.
The hope that the Almighty God will give us ever fuller communion according to His will, so that we can always praise His name ‘with one heart and one soul. It was expressed by Benedict XVI today upon receiving in the Vatican the delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople sent by Bartholomew I to attend the celebrations for the Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul (29 June), patron saints of the city and of the Church of Rome. As we entrust to the intercession of the glorious apostles and martyrs Peter and Paul our prayer that the Lord may bring closer the blessed day when we can share the Eucharistic Banquet, the Pope said, let us raise our voices and praise God for the path of reconciliation and peace that He enables us to walk together. The preaching of Peter and Paul, sealed by the witness of martyrdom, is the solid and everlasting foundation on which the Church is built; the communion we have already experienced between us is rooted in the faithfulness to the deposit of faith passed on to us by the apostles. Recalling the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II that will be celebrated on 11 October 2012, Benedict XVI said that the presence at the Council of some representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate marked an important new phase in the relationship between our two Churches. (continued)
(SIR Europe - Brussels) - EU multi-year budget, actions for growth and employment, bank union, financial and budget governance, public debt problem, extension and foreign policy issues are some of the main items in the agenda of the European Council opening in the Belgian capital today, and called to save the euro by strengthening political union, as required by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Following the agenda, leaders arrive after 2 p.m., exchange views with the President of the European Parliament (officially included among the participants in the summit for the first time), make photographs, start the first work session on EU budget for 2014-2020 and, of course, to prepare response to the economic crisis. The press conference of President of the Council Van Rompuy and President of the Commission Barroso is scheduled just late in the evening - probably after the Euro 2012 semi-final between Germany and Italy. Another work session takes place tomorrow morning to draw up the document with the Conclusions of the summit, followed by a working lunch of Eurozone leaders. As far is known, the Conclusions should include bank union, project bonds, ECB role. The Council will also deal with the new 10 billion bailout in favour of Cyprus, whose exposure to Greek banks amounts to 26 billion.