human development, social justice and sustainable social systems
As a secretariat, we want to recognise and support the essential and admirable work, in the service of charity, that our members continue to do for people in need all over Europe during this COVID-19 crisis. We will keep up the fight for social justice and care for all people in vulnerable situations, it is needed more than ever.
Maria Nyman, Caritas Europa Secretary General
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Caritas Europa secretariat stands in solidarity and prayer with all affected families and communities. The secretariat continues to be operational and to serve the network. However, to comply with the official safety measures, we have put on hold all travelling and all staff is working from home, respecting social distancing.
We are carefully monitoring the developments of COVID-19 as it will strongly affect the services our network provides to people in the most precarious situations, who will be the hardest hit by the effects of this global crisis. A Caritas Europa crisis cell has been set up to liaise with the secretariat of Caritas Internationalis and with all our members to evaluate the specific needs of the network and the support measures that can be taken at the European level.
We are specifically looking at the impact the crisis will have on our economies, service provision and health care. We are also analysing the impact it might have on ongoing or planned international programs and humanitarian action. With the expected mid- to long-term consequences, we will continue to advocate on behalf of the most vulnerable populations, focusing on the needs arising from the crisis.
COVID-19 has no borders, nor does it discriminate based on wealth, status or origin. While governments are facing an unprecedented internal emergency, we urgently call on them again to not leave anyone behind and to avoid contributing to an additional stigmatisation of those already marginalised, including migrants and refugees.
I renew my closeness to all the sick and those caring for them. This extends to all the caregivers and volunteers who help those who cannot leave their homes, and those who are meeting the needs of the poorest and the homeless.
During these difficult times, we all need to hear of stories of resilience and hope. Our member organisations continue to serve the most vulnerable people in their communities, demonstrating great solidarity and courage. Here are their stories.
The Caritas Europa Regional Conference 2020 that was to be held in Andorra between 19-20 May 2020 has been cancelled. A virtual statutory meeting will be held instead. Caritas Europa member organisations will receive more information directly.
The Directors’ meeting that was to be held prior to the Regional Conference in La Seu d’Urgell on 18 May 2020 has been cancelled.
Update 17 March 2020
The Caritas Europa Spring Academy 2020 that was to be held between 30 March – 2 April 2020 in Ghent has been postponed until 21-24 September 2020. Learning Path participants will received more information directly.
Update 29 February 2020
Many Caritas Europa member organisations are concerned about COVID-19 and asking whether there is any common European approach or contingency plan.
Caritas Europa secretariat confirms that, at this stage, members should refer to the measures taken at the national level. The different European Commission (EC) departments are jointly monitoring the situation. The EC has also put in place a European response team to ensure a coherent EU-wide response.
All travel restrictions and global situation reports are available on the website of the World Health Organization (WHO). As of today (Friday 29 February 2020), the WHO has not published any specific travel advice for the European region.
In case of events planned in any European Caritas, please refer to the national or diocesan Caritas involved, which shall refer to the regulation – if any – of its Ministry of Health. For Belgium, please refer to the dedicated website.
As Europeans, we all tend to take for granted our right to freedom of movement. These weeks and this Lent shall give us the time to reflect on how lucky we are and how feeble this possibility is. We shall offer a thought and a prayer to all those who do not benefit from this right. And we should engage to make it a reality also for them, in full respect of human rights and of public health.
Silvia Sinibaldi, Caritas Europa Humanitarian Director