In statements for Europe Day this May 9, Church aid organisation Caritas Europa and the European Christian Workers’ Movement have warned the 27 member states of the EU that “this is the hour of truth” for the Union.

Full text of the statement of Caritas Europa for Europe Day

(Source: Caritas Europa)

On the occasion of Europe Day, 9 May, Caritas Europa calls on EU leaders to agree well before the end of 2020 on an adequate 2021-2027 budget.

Solidarity is now more urgent than ever to keep fighting poverty in Europe and worldwide, particularly given the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

We urge EU Member States to unite and put common interests ahead of national interests to come to an agreement soon on the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the next 7-year EU budget.

Millions of EU residents, and neighbouring and developing countries benefit from EU funding, and all of that is at risk if no agreement is reached in due time.

In the meantime, a contingency plan will be necessary to extend the current financial framework by one year in order to prevent gaps in funding programmes.

“This is the hour of truth for the European Union, a time to show its citizens the value and power of this Union”.

Caritas Europa Secretary General, Maria Nyman

Caritas Europa asks in particular to strengthen the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) and to ensure adequate funding for the Child Guarantee, in order for them both to be effective in fighting poverty and social exclusion.

The declaration presented by the French foreign minister, Robert Schuman, 70 years ago on May 9, may now be more pertinent that ever:

“Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity”.

Today, European countries are facing global challenges affecting their populations without distinction, evident in the light of the Covid-19 health and economic crises.

These clearly show that European cooperation is essential and that no country can address such challenges on its own.

Now, just as 70 years ago, European solidarity is crucial.

Full text of the statement of the European Christian Workers’ Movement

(Source: European Christian Workers’ Movement)

Requiem for a Europe that must die, ode to a hoped Europe

1. In these Covid-19 days we see how the society and the popular and working classes are organizing themselves in solidarity and mutual support networks. We see the rebirth of community action and attention to the most unprotected people. We see how the bold work of health community is recognized every day, the central importance of domestic workers and those who care the sick and dependent people, the heroism of so many daily saints, as pope Francis likes to be called, despite to all difficulties and despite that we have the individualism virus inoculated since forever, and even more so by this predatory and fratricidal capitalism that has brought us to the edge of precipice.

2. For that reason, if the human tissue is being remade from the smallest, with many drops of love, humility and generosity, we aspire to see these dynamics in the authorities which govern us and also in the enterprises where we work. Thus, we are hurt to see how the governments of member States in Europe and in the community, institutions reproduce, in their own interest, some dynamics that have already taken place, as in the financial crisis 2008 and that must be overcome at this so serious moment.

3. International Labour Organization warns us of the arrival of unemployment wave in the world and particularly in Europe (a minimum of 12-15 million of jobs lost) as it had not happened from decades. Besides, we came from a situation of weakness with welfare states undersupplied in its social action and public services (due to austerity policies) and highly precarious labour market. It is time to do common good policy and for that, as pope Francis indicates, it is necessary to take measures that overcome the usual dominant technocratic paradigm.

4. The States must guarantee the highest levels of employment in decent conditions and, for whom cannot get a job, provide sufficient living incomes, as pope Francis is already asking for. It is also the moment of demanding to the great actors of private business – that in the recent history they have benefited from public bailout, such as the banking sector – an economic and ethical commitment and a more equitable distribution of surplus that they create in this rebuilding.

5. Our governors and whom elected them must learn from what happened: public health and social protection systems must be strengthened, regulation policies to protect workers must be implemented, proximity productive and factory fabric must be rebuilt that provides decent working conditions, that minimizes the damage to the environment and where the citizenship pay a fair price for those goods manufactured ethically.

6. Nobody doubts that, depending on how Europe faces the economic and social reconstruction after the pandemic, its existence will make sense (because it plays a role) or it will fall apart. Policies of common financing, mutualized preferentially, will be needed to support the public expenses that it will be generated. This is also the moment of solidarity, the mutual cooperation and the joint and agreed action. The health crisis has revealed our interdependence and the fact that the so called, rich countries are living poverty and disease experience that brings us closer to the most impoverished countries, thus opening the opportunity to listen more clearly the call to change personally and collectively. It is time to move away from Europe and forever the populism, the armoring of borders, the arm manufacturing and trafficking, the marginalization of the different and the reject of immigrant. It is time to stop being the creditors of poor countries that have paid their debt more than enough.

7. Easter time gives us the occasion for conversion and building together, and through dialogue, a more socially, inclusive, low-carbon and environmentally sustainable productive model, in line with the measures included in the European Green Agreement: “Now more than ever, persons, communities and peoples must be put at the centre, united to heal, to care and to share” (from pope Francis’s letter addressed to popular movements, the last Easter Sunday).

8. For all above mentioned, ECWM is reaffirming in its Christian option lived in the working world and its commitment in favors of popular and working classes. ECWM wants to make every effort in order to Europe, our Europe, be faithful to itself and wants all its children live their human condition and dignity God’s children with fullness. A Europe with its heart opens to all the winds of justice, a merciful heart to protect to the weakest children and to welcome the poor who knock at our doors.

More on Novena on the challenges of the coronavirus to Europe:

Regina Caeli 10/5: Francis urges EU leaders to confront COVID-19 social and economic crisis “in harmony and collaboration”

Jesuits urge EU not to return to “old normal” after COVID-19 but to work for “radical change”

On Europe Day, Cardinal Hollerich exhorts continent to “solidarity and charity” to beat “virus of nationalism and egoism”

Interview by Novena Brussels contributor Angele Bucyte: COMECE Secretary General says Church ready to take EU dialogue to next level


PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.