human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

Brexit – Europe, what is happening to you?

Statement of Caritas Europa

We are concerned about Europe. Brexit is surely a challenge for the UK and the European Union (EU), but also for the entire European continent and its residents.  All what happened around this referendum shows – once more in Europe in these last years – how togetherness is challenged: within the UK and with regard to the European project, a concept that goes far beyond the institutional framework of the current EU.

There are many situations in the last years in Europe that present like pieces of a puzzle a worrying trend. Something deeper is at cause; our core European values are being threatened and this urges all of us in Europe – politicians, residents and civil society organisations – to act together.

Every day, Caritas Europa, a network of 49 members in 46 European countries, witnesses many wonderful expressions of solidarity that contribute to a Europe that cares for the most vulnerable people and societies.

But, we are increasingly concerned about the current state of Europe, where ethical and moral erosion and the commodification of politics prevail. We see a Europe that focuses exclusively on economic growth, and where personal, corporate or national interests are placed over the common good. We are worried about the consequences for the people, especially the most vulnerable and the impoverished. We are worried that we will lose what we Europeans have built together over the past decades, our wealth of mutual exchanges and cultural diversity. We are concerned about losing the values of humanity and solidarity that are essential for European peace and development. We worry about moving away from Christian values, heritages of humanity.

It is high time that governments, politicians, EU institutions, civil society organisations and the Churches enter into dialogue and start building a Europe that listens to and understands ordinary people, especially the most vulnerable and their legitimate concerns. In these times, “it is important that we have a sense of duty to work for the common good and not create barriers of division and prejudice. […] Though political leaders have an important role in negotiating with other governments, all of us have a responsibility to shape the future in a way that recognises that we belong together.” [1] We need to build a common home on the basis of our common values of humanity, solidarity and social justice.


[1] statement from Bishop Declan Lang, Bishop of Clifton and Chairman of the International Affairs Department of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.