human development, social justice and sustainable social systems
Don Virginio Colmegna elected European Citizen 2018
by the EU Parliament
Don Virginio Colmegna was president of Caritas Ambrosiana from 1993 to 2002. This year he received the European Citizen award by the European Parliament.
The European Citizen prize is awarded each year to citizens, associations and organizations that have distinguished themselves, through their activities, for their exceptional commitment in facilitating cooperation in the EU, promoting a better mutual understanding and greater integration between the citizens of the Member States.
Among the 56 awards given this year by the European Parliament, Don Virginio Colmegna was elected European Citizen 2018.
Today Don Virginio Colmegna is president of the Casa della Carità Foundation of Milan. He was director of Caritas Ambrosiana from 1993 to 2002.
On the reception of migrants, the European States must overcome their own selfish interests and find a common solution, which guarantees legality but is respectful of human rights.
I thank the European Parliament for this recognition, which is not for me, but for all the guests, the operators and the volunteers of the Casa del Carità of Milan and I would like to take this opportunity, being here today, in one of the most respected institution of the Union, to relaunch a message that every day guides our activities: people first.
A message that I would like hear in all the European countries, which must return to putting solidarity towards the weakest people at the center of the political agenda, promoting measures that respond to the concrete needs of all its citizens, fighting against poverty and addressing the issue of the reception and social inclusion of migrants as soon as possible.
I am worried, in fact, to see that the issue of migration, rather than being dealt respecting the law, the culture of acceptance and the guarantee of human rights, is managed by individual countries with interventions that look only to their national interests, forgetting that principle of solidarity which is one of the founding values of the European Union.
It becomes increasingly urgent that we return to discuss how to overcome the limits imposed today by the Dublin Treaty, starting from the proposal approved by the European Parliament, and how to promote new immigration rules respected by all member states, in the perspective to build bridges and not walls, as Pope Francis urges us to do.
Don Virginio Colmegna
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