A working programme with a set of concrete proposals was compiled for submission to the next president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Junker and to his team of Commissioners, as soon as they take office. It stems from the online debate that animated the website of IXE, Initiative of Christians for Europe, theeuropeexperience.eu, with head office in Brussels, fruit of the cooperation between the Social Weeks of French Catholics and the Central Committee of German Catholics, in conjunction with the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) and other members across EU countries. Principles and proposals. Last April, in order to involve citizens in the pre-election debate, IXE launched the website in eight languages, with information and areas for debate on 5 issues considered critical to the life of the Union: youth and the family, economy and society, migration and asylum, sustainability, the EU and the world. The contribution of over 20 thousand visitors over the past months and the political proposals of Church bodies (notably COMECE), have prompted suggestions for the working programme of the new Commission. Available in a comprehensive document, articulated in “Principles and Proposals”, the five appeals that compose it can be downloaded individually. Citizens can “contact their MEPs and submit their proposals”. Migration and asylum. Perhaps a priority in the agenda of the new Executive will be the common migration policies, which the EU is currently lacking and which according to the document will have to ensure “equal asylum access procedures for all Countries, a more equal distribution of responsibilities within EU members”; protection and assistance for those landing in Europe, in addition to the respect for the non-refoulement principle” (that no asylum-seeker be rejected, without prior control of the situation). In concrete terms the requests include: financing the creation of reception communities to give a dignified lodging to asylum-seekers; to lobby to demand the abolition of laws criminalizing humanitarian and social assistance to undocumented migrants; to prevent unjustified restrictions to the directive on family reunification. Economic and social policies. Concrete proposals in the economic sphere range from greater tax harmonization and strengthening of cooperation in the field of taxation, requests for accompanying measures for the long-term unemployed, to the definition of a common agreement on a European minimum wage. The animating principle of these proposals is “to develop models of qualitative economic growth measured by complementary indicators and not only in terms of GDP”, “to encourage a more responsible banking model that is based not only on the goal of profit maximization, but also respects the principles of social responsibility, mutuality and solidarity”, to promote social protection for the most needy. The EU and the rest of the world. An underlying concern is “greater promotion of peace and development” as compared to military spending, along with major involvement in the definition of the post-2015 development agenda. Another concern is that Europe’s humanitarian aid remain “independent, neutral and impartial” with respect to foreign policy issues; that the EU trade policy serve “the common good and not just the interests of the powerful trading corporations”. Proposals include: “reviewing the current system of economic partnership agreements with African countries”. Care of the Creation, defence of life. As regards sustainability the principle is to cut energy dependence of Europe and ensuring safe and alternative supplies, “protecting” quality European agriculture. But a paramount need is the promotion and the protection of human life from the moment of conception to natural death. Concrete proposals include “reducing CO2 emissions by at least 55% below the 1990 level and set a binding target for energy efficiency and renewable energy by 2030”. But the issue that is certainly most dear to the authors of the document, notably after the EU’s disappointing response to the One of Us campaign is “making the funding of research on adult stem cells a priority under the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 and ban the funding of research on embryonic stem cells”. Youth and family policies. Four requests for youth and families: to reduce child poverty by 50% as a target of the Europe 2020 strategy; to monitor the implementation of “Youth Guarantee” by Member States; to introduce Sunday as a weekly day of rest common to all citizens in Europe; to increase the minimum period of paid maternity leave enshrined in the related Directive.
An intense document drawn up by IXE with operative proposals addressed to the future Executive