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Austria: Mariazell, conclusions of Bishops’ meeting. “Let Europe protect its citizens as well as migrants”

Today, a Eucharistic celebration at the sanctuary of Mariazell marked the end of the summer plenary meeting of the Austrian Bishops Conference (Öbk) that began last Monday. The main items on the agenda were Austria’s six-month presidency of the European Union, the defence of life, and peace in Syria. In a press release, the Bishops recall that “on July 1st 2018 Austria will take over, as planned, as president of the Council of Europe. Currently, many people feel threatened by global developments and disruptions”. The Bishops write that “climate change, structural change in the work world with social inequality, people’s aging in Europe, can no longer be denied”. According to Öbk, the European population is afraid of social decline. The Bishops mentioned the motto chosen by the Austrian government, “a protective Europe”, and point out that, if such protection must apply to those large pockets of economic and social discrimination and of poverty that can be found in many European regions, however, “a protective Europe” is not just for those who live in the EU, it is also for those who are persecuted or whose lives are threatened and therefore flee to the European Union. A key topic will be how to manage Great Britain’s leaving the EU, because, “even if the United Kingdom is no longer a member state, it still is an important, inseparable part of Europe”.

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