Openness, transparency and regularity shape the dialogue introduced by the Article 17 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the Europe Union aiming at building the bridge between the EU and churches, religious associations, communities as well as philosophical and non-confessional organisations. It is in this frame that the European Parliament hosted a dialogue seminar to discuss “the external policies of the EU” earlier this month.
The event was opened by the introductory remarks of Antonio Tajani (President of the European Parliament) and Mairead McGuinness (First Vice-President of the European Parliament and responsible for the Parliament’s implementation of Article 17 TFEU).
Caritas Europa’s Policy & Advocacy Director, Shannon Pfohman, was one of the speakers and discussed the role of Catholic faith-based organisations in the fields of development and humanitarian aid.
“Caritas is a global faith-based organisation and a confederation, where all 165 member organisations are rooted in different countries and in local communities. It often intervenes when there is an absence of adequate state structures, by providing basic social services” she clarifies.
Another important characteristic Shannon Pfohman highlighted, is that "Caritas works for the common good, not merely providing assistance to people, but also engaging with and empowering people to be aware of their rights and to claim them as a way to achieve integral human development and to contribute to changing unjust structures”.
“Caritas advocates for a human-centred approach. We encourage that policy makers put the person at the centre of all policies and adopt more coherency with sustainable development principles”, Pfohman stated. She quoted the words of Pope Francis who says: “…people have faces; they force us to assume a responsibility that is real, personal and effective. Statistics, however useful and important, are about arguments; they are soulless. They offer an alibi for not getting involved, because they never touch us in the flesh”.
Shannon Pfohman concluded the panel reinforcing that faith-based actors play an important role in contributing to the 2030 Agenda Transformative Principles (Leaving No One Behind, Participation and Dialogue, Universality, Human Rights), and she reinforced the need for European institutions to focus on the structural changes we need (in areas such as trade, energy, tax policy, or global governance, among others) to contribute effectively to development challenges in Africa.
— Caritas Europa (@CaritasEuropa) December 6, 2017
What could be the positive contribution that Churches (+ #Church actors) can bring to the #development of a more coherent #EU external policy based on the rule of law and on the respect of human dignity? @MaireadMcGMEP
— COMECE.eu (@ComeceEu) December 19, 2017
Today's #Art17Dialogue seminar in @Europarl_EN hosted by @MaireadMcGMEP and @EP_President focuses on EU enlargement with faith-based development actors on the ground #religiousdialogue pic.twitter.com/lrPFfvShDF
— EJC (@eurojewcong) December 6, 2017
Contact Caritas Europa's Policy and Advocacy Director Shannon Pfohman if you would like to know more about the work of Caritas Europa in the field of advocacy.