(Brussels) Vincent Depaigne is the new coordinator for dialogue between the European Union and Churches, religious associations and communities, philosophical and non-confessional organisations, as laid down by Article 17 of the Treaty on the functioning of the EU. The Commission of the EU Bishops Conferences (Comece) rejoices about this in a release, stating they are prepared to “upgrade dialogue with the EU institutions in a creative way”. Depaigne replaces Katharina von Schnurbein; Frans Timmermans, deputy president of the EU, is politically responsible for this area. “The renewed distinction between this position and other key positions within the EU Commission”, according to Comece, is an “important prerequisite for it to be effective”, says the notice, which wishes this appointment “may give new opportunities for a fresh start” and “relationships based on transparency and mutual respect, so that Europeans may benefit from better-developed dialogue between the Catholic Church and the EU”. For it to happen, such dialogue must let the parties free to “fully express their identity, the specificity of their contribution and representation”. In addition, Comece hopes that in the near future the coordinator’s role “may be upgraded”, so as to “provide truly regular dialogue through frequent, proactive contacts with the Churches”.