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COMECE: Churches, associations and religious communities can “contribute to the full range of EU policies and legislation”

(Brussels) The commitment of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) to “strengthen the dialogue between Church and public institutions”, restated at the recent Congress in late October “(Re)Thinking Europe”, has gained new momentum in Tallinn recently (16-17 November), where COMECE co-organised, with other churches and the current EU Presidency, a Conference on the role of religion and Churches in the European Union. In a statement released from Brussels, COMECE underlines the importance of “Church autonomy” and the “protection of State-Church relations within the Member States on the basis of Article 17” of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. COMECE “appreciates the involvement of the Estonian Presidency in co-organising this type of event”, the press release reads: “It is a practice to be repeated, built upon and improved” also with a view to “going beyond religion-related topics” so that Churches and religious associations may effectively contribute to “the full range of EU policies and legislation”. The COMECE Secretariat also informs that a meeting took place in Brussels with the Syriac-Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, Ignatius Joseph III Younan, and the Archbishop of Aleppo, Mgr. Antoine Chahda, on “the dramatic situation of Syrian and Iraqi people”, and on “the difficulties faced by the Christian minorities in a general context of instability, violence and intolerance”.

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