Tuesday, February 12, 2019

ECPM European Campaign Launch 20 February, Mariott Grand Place 12h30

WHY VOTING CHRISTIAN MATTERS?”


Date: 20th February 2019
Time: 12.30 – 17.30
Venue: Hotel Mariott Grand Place, Rue Auguste Orts 3-7/Grand Place, Brussels, 1000 Belgium
The European Christian Political Movement (ECPM) is the only European political party with an explicit Christian profile. To contribute to the wellbeing of the people in Europe, the ECPM united parties and politicians around Christian values to generate political solutions to EU’s key problems. Unlike other European parties, the ECPM focuses on the human being in its relationship to God, other people and the creation. We see this relational thinking as the heart of Christian-democracy.
The manifesto will include priorities for the future MEPs who will represent ECPM in the next European Parliament:
• Promoting the Christian roots of Europe;
• Reforming the EU, Focus on Community instead of Union;
• Priority for Family based on a marriage between one man and one woman
• Protecting Human Dignity and promoting pro-life policies.
• Fighting Modern Slavery and Human trafficking
• Outward looking foreign policy. Solving problems where they start
• Freedom and Security. Defending external borders of the EU
The manifesto will be introduced by the President of the ECPM and current MEP Branislav Škripek (Slovakia), other MEPs and candidate Marek Jurek (Poland), Peter van Dalen and Bert Jan Ruissen (Netherlands), Arne Gericke (Germany), Jean-Frédéric Poisson (France), Ladislav Ilcic (Croatia) and other prominent members from Spain, Portugal and Malta.
Lunch buffet will be served starting from 12:30. A coffee break will take place at 15:00.
For more information, please contact Lefteris Kaloterakis:
Email: lk@ecpm.info
Tel: +32(0)22301300
================================================================
AGENDA

12h30-13h30 Lunch buffet

13h30 - 15h00
  • Opening by President of the ECPM
  • Campaign presentation + introduction of the Slogan.
  • Presentation Manifesto with panel of current MEP's
  • Introduction of candidates and signing of the Manifesto
  • Press conference.
15h00 - 15h30
Coffee Break, time for photo and video moments.

15h30 - 17h30
  • Presentation of the new Sallux publication, Strong Nations, Confederate Europe
  • How we involve Christian in voting.
  • ECPYouth's participation in the campaign.
  • Music and closing prayer.
  • Cocktail

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Council of Europe: Palliative Care is a Human Right!

At the end of 2018, ECPM Member and Senator Rónán Mullen's report in the Council of Europe on Providing Palliative Care has been adopted the end of last year. This report affirms that Palliative Care is fundamental to human dignity and a component of the human right to health. Palliative care aims at the quality of life of both patients and their families. The Council of Europe asks the Member States to recognize palliative care as a human right and fully integrate it into their health-care system and to dedicate the necessary resources to it. 

The Assembly deeply regrets that on the organisation of palliative care, hundreds of thousands of people in Europe still do not have access to appropriate palliative care services and is concerned about the lack of access to appropriate pain relief leading to situations in which patients suffer for months and even years and experience avoidable painful deaths. 
Furthermore, the Governments should remove all obstacles that restrict access to pain-relieving medication in the context of palliative care, and ensure adequate training on palliative care for health-care professionals. They should also provide comprehensive support for informal caregivers, including respite services. 
Further is palliative care about dying with dignity and NOT about the dignity to die. They follow the definition of the WHO that the starting point of palliative care which "affirms life, regards dying as a normal process and intends neither to hasten nor to postpone death"
Or as Pope Francis said on the meeting of the "World Medical Association" on "end of life issues" 16 November 2017: "And even if we know that we cannot always guarantee healing or a cure, we can and must always care for the living, without ourselves shortening their life, but also without futilely resisting their death. This approach is reflected in palliative care.... as it opposes what makes death most terrifying and unwelcome - pain and loneliness

Click here for the report and resolution
Click here for an article of the European Association of Palliative Care on this report
Click here for a link with pictures of the meeting in the Council of Europe organized by Senator Mullen in collaboration with Sallux with representatives of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development of the Council of Europe, the European Association of Palliative Care and ADF International. This meeting was organized as preparation for the report

Photos: As a preparation for the report, Rónán Mullen organized in collaboration with Sallux, the think tank of the ECPM, a meeting with representatives of the secretariate of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development of the Council of Europe, European Association of Palliative Care and ADF International




Monday, December 31, 2018

New Year's Message

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” Romans 2:12


The year 2018 was a year full of events. It was for me a challenging but also a blessed year. First of all, the ECPM has continued to grow. New parties and individual Members of Parliament have joined the ECPM, and even with stricter regulations, ECPM is able to continue to operate as one of the ten European parties. Besides this, I am thankful for the work of our members and partners in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Many resolutions and reports have been adopted this year which sought to promote human dignity. One of the highlights was the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human rights exactly on the same date this Declaration has been ratified by the United Nations. This document names the fundamental human rights, like the right to life, but also of family, freedom of religion or belief and the fights against slavery. Many of them you will find in the spearheads and the vision documents of the ECPM.

The year of 2018 taught me as well that politics became more complicated and more stigmatized.  I see a rise of dogmatism on the left-liberal side and of populism on the far right side of the political spectrum. 

Dogmatism on the left

The left-liberal side has become more and more dogmatic. Their dogmatism is based on the “individual autonomy” of a human being. They believe that politicians should focus on eliminating every aspect that could limit the individual choice of a person, whether this is good or not, or whether this even could harm the dignity of another. New rights are created like the right for a woman to do an abortion or the right to die in cases of euthanasia, which can go against the fundamental right to life. The latest development is the promoting of the gender ideology which is founded on the idea that a gender of a human being is not biologically established by birth, but that it is an identity a person has or will have. Someone should have the right to establish even their own gender, even if this goes against nature and is highly questionable if accepting a change in gender really will help a person. It is interesting that there are lately so many Europe-wide television programs that try to promote this unscientific idea of the basics of human being instead of the fact that we are created as man or woman. The problem is that they want their ideologies to be transposed in legislation and imposed on societies and everyone. Other opinions on these issues are seen as intolerant or discriminatory.

In the name of tolerance, equality and non-discrimination, the political climate has become intolerant and discriminatory against Christian and other organizations that defend the traditional family, or want to protect the life of the unborn or other existing human rights. Reports were written where these organizations are framed as anti-rights, anti-choice and as neo-conservatives. Using also unfounded and crazy conspiracy theories, they try to frame these organizations in order to silence them and overlook their input in debates. Their dogmas have to be accepted by everyone and enshrined in policies. This will have consequences for the freedom of conscience for Christians and other religious people or people with conscience objections in certain professions (like doctors and midwives) who do not want to do an abortion or do not want to do euthanasia, but also for registrars who are for example not able to marry same-sex couples).

Populism on the far right

Another development is the rise of populism on the far right. I believe that the growth of individualism, the breaking down of communities, the increased secularist tendencies, the growing influence of Islam and the refugee crisis, cause an identity vacuum for many. Populist parties on the right side, are jumping in this vacuum and focus on nationalism and on the Christian identity of a country and its people. Christianity is then not based on faith, but merely used as an aspect of cultural identity, especially against the Islam that is seen more as a political ideology. In some countries, these right populistic movements are also supporting the traditional family or the protection of life. This makes it complicated to establish our positions. Should we as Christians collaborate with these far right movements on certain such as family and life, despite the fact that they do not respect the human dignity of refugees and the freedom of religion or belief of all religions in society?   

These two simultaneous tendencies complicate the political environment. At the same time, we are framed and excluded more and more by the left, and some of our Christian values are misused by the far right for their agenda of protecting national and people’s identity. Collaborating with the left-liberals can result in compromising on our values, collaborating with the right will frame us as (far) right-wing politicians. 

How should we act?

The apostle Paul gave us the answer in Romans 12. He tells us there to not conform to the pattern to the world. The basis is in our faith in Jesus Christ. Our faith renews our minds and focuses on God and the other person. Our faith should determine our actions in politics. We must not be distracted by or being focused on the dogmatic politics of the left or the populist politics on the right. As Pope Leo XIII and Abraham Kuyper (two basic thinkers that influenced Christian Democracy) asserted, we should not focus on the left or right, but concentrate our attention towards the middle way. This middle way is based on our “Imago Dei”, on the fact that we are all created in the image and likeness of God. My basis for politics is not the freedom FROM everything that can limit the individual autonomy of a human being, but the freedom TO love God and to love the other: to protect the weak and fragile in our society and to strive for justice.

Or as is written: “He (=God) has shown you what is good, o mortal. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

I wish you a blessed and joyful 2019!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

From Same-Sex marriage to Multiple Parenthood


Redefining family in Holland

I received a lot of questions on whether same-sex marriages have an influence on the redefinitions of the institute of family in the Netherlands and if so, to what extent. 

The Dutch Government believed that the Dutch society had changed considerably during the past decades. For this reason, they established a State Committee to re-evaluate parenthood. The report of the State Committee called "Child and Parents in the 21st century" was presented in 2016.

The most important aim of this report was to equal the genetical bond between the parents and the child with the intention to parenthood. Therefore, they called for a redefinition of parenthood. Besides this, the reports calls for the establishment of juridical frameworks for different forms of families. Additionally, the report calls for the legalization of multiple parenthood (but with a limit to four parents with two different households) and for a regulation of surrogacy.

The report claims that the rights and best interests of children should be safeguarded in different situations. However, reading the report, I conclude that only a minimum of the interests for the child have been met, just enough not to harm their fundamental rights. The Committee mentions for example that the children have the right to know their origins and they advise that parents and/or guardians have the obligation to give this information to the child. 

However, I have the feeling that the mentioned interests of the child are more of an excuse to be able to push new constructions that are not beneficial for the well-being of the child and their biological family. Is it not in the best interest of the child to bond with his biological parents? 

In this report, this is more seen as only one of the available possibilities. The “right to determine” the family situation for the child seems to be more important than the best interest of the child. Namely, to be raised up by a dedicated parenthood of the two biological parents.

Friday, September 21, 2018

The Date for the Referendum in Romania is Finally Set

Now it is up to the Romanian Voters to vote on the 6th or the 7th of October


More than two years ago, 3 million Romanians requested a referendum to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Finally, the hurdles for the organization of the referendum were removed. After the last vote in the Romanian senate with 107 votes in favour, 13 against and 7 abstentions and following the approval of the Romanian Constitutional Court, the Government set the date for the referendum: the 6th and the 7th of October. If there is a majority for YES with a minimum turnout of 6 million (30% of 18 million voters), then the constitution will be amended.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Corruption Scandal on the Sale of Schengen Visas in Malta discussed in the European Parliament


Ivan Grech Mintoff (leader of the ECPM-Member Party Alleanza Bidla) presented in the Maltese court  a transcript of the testimonies of several Libyans who claimed that in 2015, they bought an unknown number of humanitarian medical visas from an official in the Office of the of the Maltese Prime Minister. These medical visas are not supposed to be sold. Following an agreement between Malta and Libya, they are issued for free. The documents submitted in the court also claim that Schengen visas were illicitly sold at the Maltese Consulate in Tripoli over a period of 14 months (in 2013 and 2014). In this period, 88000 Schengen Visas (300 visas per day including Saturdays and Sundays) have been sold. This illegal scheme could have earned the perpetrators millions of euros.  Although the Consulate in Tripoli has closed, it is unclear if this practice has stopped or is still continuing via other countries or Malta up to today. On the 27th of June, ECPM invited Mr Mintoff to the European Parliament. A press conference was organized by ECPM President MEP Branislav Škripek where he presented his evidence. Besides, he drew the attention to this issue in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE)    and in the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The information presented at the press conference is in line with the conclusions of the Members of the European Parliament Ana Gomes, Sven Giegold and David Casa of a visit to Malta in December 2017, following the  assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia 

The documents submitted by Mr Mintoff also claim that five Libyans are willing to testify that an aide to the Prime Minister, Mr Neville Gafà had asked them for money in exchange for the sale of the medical visas. However, despite the fact that the police were in possession of the receipts provided by the Libyans, they didn’t contact them, nor did they try to verify their claims. The new evidence brought forward corresponds with evidence that was earlier published by several international media outlets as well as by the murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. In fact, Daphne Galizia was investigating this scandal. Three years ago, she had also published information that Algiers issued Maltese visas to 6781 Algerian citizens in just 18 months (between 2014 and 2015). This information originated from an Algerian source.

The latest revelations are only one link in a chain of revelations regarding corruption in Malta. At the end of 2017, several Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) belonging to the European Parliament Ad Hoc Mission on the Rule of Law in Malta visited the country and made worrisome discoveries. For example, the investigation on the assassination of Daphne Galizia is stalling. It is widely suspected that the plan is to keep the blame only among the three suspected bombers and to eventually let them go free, after they have served 20 months in detention. Moreover, as it is also the case with the scandal of the sold passports, the Police is not following all relevant leads to find out who is behind the assassination. The claim that they don’t have the necessary resources and that it is impossible to investigate everyone who was exposed by the murdered journalist. MEPs were also shocked to discover that despite the fact that several witnesses claimed that the Minister of the Economy was seen drinking with one of the alleged bombers before he was arrested, the police did not conduct a thorough investigation of these claims.

First, the persons that received these visas in Libya could be potential security threats and/or illegal migrants. Therefore, the illegal sale of medical and Schengen visas that was allegedly facilitated by highest ranking Maltese officials severely compromised the Schengen system. These visas have been sold in Libya – a country in which ISIS is undeniably present - and elsewhere.  During the press conference in the European Parliament, Mr Mintoff stated the following: “The apparent illicit sales of visas by persons close to the Prime Minister calls into question the security of the Schengen system. I hope and pray that no terrorists gained access to the EU with visas issued by Malta. Furthermore, I believe we have a duty to help those children and adults who were in dire need of medical treatment and didn’t get their medical visas because their families couldn’t afford the bribes and as a result were disabled or died."