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European elections: French bishops, to vote means “to say what kind of Europe we want”

Even the French bishops took sides in the European elections debate, with a message in which they call on the citizens of France to go and vote in May’s upcoming elections. “It is not about a Manichean scheme (pro or against Europe), but about saying what kind of Europe we want, what economic, social, cultural and spiritual model we think is the most suitable for our continent today”. Signed by all the members of the Permanent Council, the message acknowledges that “the European Parliament elections will soon take place in a difficult context, both at national and European levels. It is simplistic to say that Europe does not enjoy a good reputation: for many of our fellow citizens, it looks distant, technocratic and often ineffective. Yet it seems important to us to encourage Catholics, and all citizens in general, to participate in the election of the Members of the European Parliament”. “The powers of the European Parliament have increased over the years”, the French bishops pointed out. And “it is worth recalling that many European decisions affect our daily lives, through common policies (like the agricultural policy), the exchange of goods and services, the movement of people, the common currency that has been in place for twenty years, the harmonization of regulations, and international trade agreements”. “Europe – the message reads – is a continent marked by a painful history of conflicts” – three Franco-German wars in less than a century, two world wars, and the totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century. “The Catholic Church has always been committed to peace consolidation in the construction of Europe”, but “although it seems that peace has been achieved in Europe for younger generations today, we should remember that war is at the door, yesterday in the Balkans, today in Ukraine”. Moreover, the bishops went on to remark, there are issues in Europe that cannot be resolved by individual member states, such as the migration issue. And they concluded: “we should help European citizens to understand the nature of their decisions so that Europe may fulfil ever better their expectations, but also its mission of promoting development worldwide”.




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