The Committee of Representatives of Orthodox Churches to the EU (CROCEU) met in Brussels on March 17, 2010. The meeting was hosted by His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople to the EU. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the participation of the Orthodox Churches to the dialogue with the EU institutions in view of the implementation of Article 17(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which reads as follows:
"Recognising their identity and their specific contribution, the Union shall maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with ...Churches".
The Committee worked with His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel of France as Moderator. Those present at the meeting were: Rev. Fr Antony Iljin (Moscow Patriarchate), Rev. Fr Patriciu Vlaicu (Patriarchate of Romania), His Grace Bishop Porphyrios of Neapolis (Church of Cyprus), and His Eminence Metropolitan Athanasios of Achaia (Church of Greece).
The Committee would like to underline the commitment of the Orthodox Churches to the dialogue between on the one hand the Churches of different denominations and religious communities sharing common values and on the other hand the EU institutions. This dialogue is considered a service to the human person who faces major challenges in the different areas of Europe today and whose dignity is rooted in the faith that the human person is made according to the image of God. The Orthodox Church has a long experience in dialogue, because it is inherent in its ethos.Particularly, the dialogue between the political community and the Churches underscored by Article 17(3) is very welcome as a manifestation of mutual respect and as a sign of hope for a better Europe and a sustainable world.
The Committee considers dialogue in view of the implementation of Article 17(3) a challenge and an opportunity for promoting the fundamental values and principles upon which European culture has based itself and along which it has developed, such as justice, peace, protection of the environment, sensitivity in front of situations of poverty and suffering, reasonable distribution of financial assets, condemnation and avoidance of all sort of violence, protection of children and women, access to education for all, standing in solidarity with one another, freedom of communication and expression, protection of religious freedom concerning both minorities and majorities and the rule of law. The importance of common values and principles for sustaining dignified social life in Europe and in the world make it necessary that the EU institutions ensure a dialogue between them and the Churches within a clear framework, providing for the necessary flexibility as well as for an exchange of views on important topics that need to be seriously tackled and followed-up.
March 17, 2010