Thursday, May 22, 2014

What went wrong with Europe? About the roots of the EU

The European Parliament; the European Commission; Brussels... What kind of thoughts cross Christians’ minds when they hear these words? Bureaucracy and costly? Unnecessary legislation that goes against freedom of religion, belief and conscience?

Sometimes I wonder what has happened in Brussels over the last few decades. What has become of the Christian mindset that was so instrumental in the formation of the European Project? Where is the real problem? Maybe the problem is not with the European Union. Maybe the problem lies with the successors of the founding fathers of the EU. And how will Christian politicians be able to make their faith more visible in European politics?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Disinformation against One of Us reviewed

On the 28th of May, the European Commission has to give an answer to the European Citizens Initiative "One of Us". Nearly 1.9 million signatures were collected to ask the European Union could stop funding the embryonic stem cell research and abortion in developing countries

The left-liberal opposition against the "One of Us" was fierce and many arguments were used to neutralize the concern of so many European citizens. Main arguments were:
  • One of Us is piloted by ultra-conservative, religious, anti-choice organisations
  • One of Us is actually not a Citizens’ initiative but orchestrated by the Catholic Church and the East Orthodox churches
  • One of Us” is the latest in the series of recent attacks on gender equality, women’s rights and sexual and reproductive health and rights in Europe“One of Us” is  imposing their religious beliefs at any cost
  • One of Us will be responsible of the death of thousands of women in developing countries
  • One of Us wants to block scientific research based on their ideology. Science should be neutral
  • One of Us wants to abolish essential EU support for maternal health care, prenatal and voluntary family planning services.
  • The “One of Us” campaign is at odds with the EU’s longstanding development aid policy and its international commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)
It is surprising that not only these arguments are not true or that they are based on biased information, but also that many of these arguments try to frame the Initiative instead. Please find here the disinformation against theEuropean Citizens Initiative reviewed. The information is taken from different resources which are mentioned in the footnotes.

1. One of Us” is piloted by ultra-conservative, religious, anti-choice organisations[1]

Opponents claimed “that 96% of the total € 159,219 declared to fund One of Us came from organisations controlled by two MEPs and that an initiative orchestrated and driven by MEPs being heard in the European Parliament is hardly true to the intended spirit of a citizens’ initiative”.

This criticism is not only untrue, but also discriminatory. It is completely clear that the funding of the petition, which has been disclosed to the Commission is perfectly in line with what is foreseen by Regulation 211/2011. Therefore, there is no valid ground for drawing in question the legitimacy of the petition, which is based on the signatures of nearly 1.9 million EU citizens, of which 1,721,626 have been officially validated.

These criticisms are not only unfounded but also betray a discriminatory and profoundly anti-democratic attitude; they stand in open contradiction to fundamental EU values. Should “religious” people be treated as second-class citizens and not be allowed to use the instrument of participatory democracy provided by the European Citizens’ Initiative or (if they do) not be listened to? 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

European Elections 22-25 May, but.. how to vote Christianly?

Next week, the European Elections will take place. Over 413 million citizens of 28 EU-member states have the opportunities to elect 751 Members of the European Parliament. 

Each member state has its own electoral laws and each one decides on what day its citizens will go to the polls during the four-day election person from 22 to 25 May 2014. The results will be announced on the evening of Sunday 25 May.

But the interesting question is: who should we vote for? I got many questions like: I do not know which party or candidate in our country supports Christian values in Europe, I would like to know how my MEP who is running again voted on key issues like the protection of life, priority for the family (based on a union between a man and a woman) and freedom of religion or belief.

Some interesting tools had been developed to give you some insight in these questions: 

  • First of all, all the candidates of the ECPM supports these basic values as they are also mentioned in the ECPM manifesto. You can find these candidates here
  • To find our what parties or independent candidates support these values, go here. Click on your country on the map and we find the party/parties that we recommend
  • To find out how your current MEP (who is running again) voted on some important Christian issues, click here. Here you find five important reports that were voted in the previous European Parliament period. You can easily click to the voting results for each of these reports, select your country and find the results of your MEPs
Last but not least: pray for guidance, for Europe and for these candidates. I wish you a successful vote next week!