Wednesday, December 31, 2014

personal message, 2014: Preparing a new Way

Isaiah 43:19See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

2014 was a year of change and several challenges lied ahead of us. Several reports on Christian values were launched in the European Parliament such as the protection of life and family, freedom of religion, conscience and expression. In my articles, I write on the challenging times which may be faced through Jesus’ teaching, ‘the way of life, purpose, faith, patience, love and endurance’ (2 Timothy 3: 1-10)

For the 2014 message, I was inspired by the Bible verse from Isaiah 43:19 “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland”. I felt like this verse relates to both ECPM in Brussels and my personal life.

At the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014, several controversial reports were launched by threatening basic Christian values such as the protection of human dignity, and the freedom of religion.

Fortunately, initiatives such as the notorious Estrela and Zubert report (threatening the protection of life and the freedom of education) were blocked. At the same time, we lost other battles such as Lunacek report which privileges LGBT community above other minority groups). In such way, it was an apprehensive time before the European Elections in May 2014.

These latter were a blessing for ECPM as the number of elected representatives, members of ECPM, went from two to five. ECPM is very proud and happy that the newly representatives are actively involved in promoting human dignity, family, freedom of religion or belief, sustainable entrepreneurship and combating human trafficking. Several successful conferences and meetings on these topics were held in the European Parliament. In only two-week time, ECPM organized three thematic conferences in the European Parliament.

The involvement of ECPM on the European political arena was also relevant. Several times the ECPM Members of the European Parliament worked and jointly launched declarations such as the question on the ‘One of Us Citizens Initiative’ or ‘A common declaration’ on the newly elected European Commission. In this way, the ECPM grew visibility.

Human Trafficking and prostitution 
Another positive point in question is the growing awareness that prostitution is directly linked with human trafficking and that this latter may be tackled-by criminalizing the client. In February, Nordic model’ was supported by the Honeyball report in the European Parliament. In April, prostitution models in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Sweden were investigated by rapporteur of the Council of Europe Mendes Bota. This report brought to a resolution, where the Nordic model (criminalizing the purchase of sex) is recommended as the best way to combat human trafficking. Besides, this was discussed in a conference organized in collaboration with the Romanian Parliamentary Working Group combating human trafficking in the Romanian Parliament. The failure of the current Dutch prostitution policy was obvious when I visited with two MPs and delegates of this working group in the Netherlands. Fortunately, the Dutch MP Gert Jan Segers, jointly with his colleagues from the Socialist and Labour Party, drafted a bill that criminalizes the purchase of sex. Hopefully, this will be only the first step to improve the situation on prostitution policy in the Netherlands, and will protect hundreds of women who are treated as slaves and raped every night in Amsterdam and other Dutch cities.

In 2015, we envisage to come forward in the fight against human trafficking. In April 22th, I will get involved in an international conference on human trafficking organized in the Romanian Parliament in collaboration with the European Freedom Network and the Romanian Parliamentary Working Group. However, the battle is not over, but it is encouraging that there is an increasing awareness on the fact that prostitution is not an ordinary industry. In other words, prostitution is not the oldest profession, but rather the oldest oppression. The dignity of women should be guaranteed.

As post conflict reconciliation is one of the key values of ECPM, this latter was involved in several projects on peace and reconciliation in the Balkans and South-East Europe. I was a guest speaker at the ‘Renewing Our Minds’ conference where young leaders from were inspired by the teaching of Jesus Christ. Additional projects were supported via ECPM such as the Economic Diplomacy Seminar in Croatia.

Prayer was, is and will always be of crucial importance in ECPM activities. Therefore, I was active in promoting the European Prayer Breakfast and organizing the annual Cornerstone event in Brussels, where 72 young leaders were gathered around the values of Jesus and where different MEPs gave inspiring messages on Christian faith in practical life and the way Jesus inspired their personal and professional lives. Additionally, this year, the annual prayer breakfast was organized in Putna, Romania, where I was invited to share a biblical message and a prayer.

Worldwide growth 

Not only in Brussels but also worldwide, ECPM became increasingly involved in promoting Christian values. New collaborations were made with different transatlantic networks and American congressmen who promote family and dignity. I was invited to speak in several meetings and conferences in Washington DC and in the United Nations. As a result, fruitful collaboration with the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy has been increased.

Here I mentioned some of the highlights of 2014. We are thankful of all the aforementioned events for which are difficult to describe in two pages.  Indeed, I felt that, after the elections something new lay ahead of us. In the sense of a fresh and new way of doing politics based on dignity, freedom and responsibility. I also felt more and more at home in Brussels and I am very thankul for this. After the elections for me too something new has started. 

Thus, I would like to thank each one of you who was involved or worked by my side this year, all those who prayed for ECPM and its activities and/or supported us in one way or the other. In a very special way, my thanks go to God, as He gave us so many openings, protected us  gave us a spirit of unity with the people I am working with, and a common vision to promote His values in European Politics.

I wish you a blessed and inspiring 2015!!!!

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