European Parliament Seminar Concludes: Significant Effort Required to Eliminate Discrimination against Christians in Europe

(02. October 2012) The Oct 2nd seminar, which was organised by different politicial groups together with the COMECE, concluded that Christians in Europe are being more and more sidelined and marginalised, partly by social hostility and partly by government restrictions. Significant efforts are required to eliminate discriminatory actions against Christians. Freedom of religion has to be ensured not only for minorities, but for Christians as well. Public attention must be raised to issues which are not covered by the media and a permanent dialogue should be established on major issues. Likewise, cross-party initiatives must also play a stronger role in this process.

Members of the European Parliament from the European People’s Party (EPP Group) and the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR Group) hosted together with COMECE (commission bishops’ conferences of the European communities) a half-day Seminar on Discrimination of Christians in Europe on Tuesday, 2nd October, at the European Parliament, Brussels. The seminar concluded that Christians in Europe are being more and more sidelined and marginalised, partly by social hostility and partly by government restrictions. Significant efforts are required to eliminate discriminatory actions against Christians. Freedom of religion has to be ensured not only for minorities, but for Christians as well. Public attention must be raised to issues which are not covered by the media and a permanent dialogue should be established on major issues. Likewise, cross-party initiatives must also play a stronger role in this process.

The speakers at the seminar day were: Members of the European Parliament, including Mrs. Anna Zaborska (Slovakia), Silvia Costa and Mario Mauro (Italy), Jan Olbrycht and Konrad Szymanski (Poland), Charles Tannock (UK), Laima Liucija Andrikiene (Lithuania); as well as Rocco Buttiglione (Former Member of the Italian Government), Francisco Javier Borrego Borrego (former judge at the European Court for Human Rights, Spain), Msgr. Florian Kolfhaus (Vatican, State Secretariat), Hon. Daniel Lipsic (Member of Parliament, Slovak republic), and Dr. Martin Kugler (Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe).

„The Parliament“ reports: ... Further comment came from Martin Kugler, of the Austria-based Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe.
He pointed to a recent opinion poll which showed that 74 per cent of those surveyed felt that Christians faced "negative discrimination" compared with people of other religious faiths.
A further 60 per cent of those polled said that such discrimination was on the increase.

Kugler said, "Even friendly criticism of homosexuality has led to criminal investigation." He added, "We are not asking for special treatment, privileges or exceptions but merely the right to exercise freedom of speech."
Irish MEP Sean Kelly agreed, saying, "We as Christians just want others to respect our views and not to be dismissed as irrelevant."
Another panel speaker, Daniel Lipsic, a former justice minister in Slovakia, said, "This is not just about arguing the case for Christians, but for freedom of speech." (link to entire text below).

Find several of the interventions on www.thinksite.eu.

Press information of COMECE: www.comece.org/site/en/activities/events/article/5131.html

News Coverage: www.theparliament.com/latest-news/article/newsarticle/christians-in-europe-face-persecution/


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