(Source: CD/COMECE)

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Europe and the world, the presidents of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) and the Conference of European Churches (CEC) have issued a joint call stressing the importance of unity, calling all Churches, communities and political leaders “to show our commitment to European values”.

The joint statement titled “Let Us Remain United”, issued on Thursday, 2 April 2020, urges a demonstration of “joint commitment to common European values of solidarity and unity”, and pushes political decision-makers to implement “concrete expressions of our shared European responsibility” in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Such “concrete expressions” of solidarity and unity on COVID-19, say the Churches, could include “burden-sharing in the care for the sick, a facilitated exchange of medical materials [and] creative measures alleviating social, economic and financial shocks”.

They also urge Brussels to commit to”reinforced international cooperation and humanitarian assistance to support weaker health systems in needy regions of the world”.

COMECE President Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ and CEC President Rev. Christian Krieger express, furthermore, their “deep gratitude” for those “who serve their fellow human beings with empathy and warmth” and welcome the “individual and collective initiatives that are reinventing new forms of solidarity”.

The statement acknowledges that the COVID-19 pandemic and its dire consequences have hit Europe and the entire world with great strength.

“Putting to the test every person, family and community, the present crisis has exposed the vulnerabilities and apparent certainties of our politics, economics and societies,” it reads.

“Instead of capitulating to fear and nationalism,” they say, “this is the time for all of us to demonstrate our joint commitment to the European project and to common European values of solidarity and unity.”

The two presidents praise “the numerous policy actions” carried out by the EU and its Member States and encourage political leaders to act in a “determined, transparent, empathic and democratic way” while battling with the virus.

Full text of the COMECE-CEC statement on COVID-19:

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