The website « The Europe Experience » was successfully launched on 2 April in the European Parliament in Brussels, in the presence of a wide-ranging audience of MEPs, representatives from the European Commission, NGO’s, ecumenical partner organisations, media and the stakeholders of the website platform.
On behalf of the Initiative of Christians for Europe IXE who took the initiative to set up the website, Jérôme Vignon, the President of the Semaines Sociales de France and Stefan Vesper, Secretary General of the Central Committee of German Catholics, underlined the Church’s commitment to the European integration by recalling “We, European citizens, must not leave Europe to populist and anti-European forces – though we need to take seriously and address justified criticism and concerns. The members of IXE are determined to promote a more energetic European awareness in debates at the national level.”
Martin Kastler, an MEP from Germany and speaker on European affairs of the Central Committee of German Catholics, opened the conference and thanked the initiators of the IXE project. He called on the European citizens to strengthen the European Parliament by a high turn-out at the elections and a clear vote in favour of the European integration. “Europe is not complicated, Europe is simple. Only the procedures are sometimes complicated“ said Jan Olbrycht, an MEP from Poland. “In Slovakia, many Christians do not take part in European Elections. I’m convinced that this website is offering them the means to get involved in the debate and make their voice heard” said Miroslav Mikolasik, a Slovakian MEP. Ms Róża Thun, an MEP from Poland welcomed this project as being in line with the spirit of Robert Schuman, a spirit of dialogue in which concrete proposals are made in order to advance a project.
Representatives from the Catholic organisations CIDSE and Caritas Europa also took the floor to welcome the website as an opportunity to increase awareness of their specific policy proposals in various EU policy areas.
The website is available in 5 languages: English, French, German, Italian and Slovakian. A Polish and Spanish version are in preparation. Other languages are planned (Hungarian, Dutch).
From now on, users can go to www.theEuropeExperience.eu, select a topic of their choice and follow the 3 steps “get informed, get inspired, go ahead”. The forums of discussion are now open for concrete proposals to be forwarded to candidates who are up for election next 22-25 May for the European Parliament.
In June 2002 was created a European Working Group of Christians of the various countries of Europe; in March 2006, it was named the ‘Initiative of Christians for Europe’ or, in abbreviated form, IXE.
IXE is committed to pursuing four major objectives:
to give European Christians who wish to convey the social message of the Church an opportunity to meet and to come more productively to terms with their historic and cultural differences;
to launch a dialogue with society as a whole, and to articulate statements of position with regard to topics of relevance for the future of European society;
to encourage reflection about the process of European unification, particularly in dialogue with national and European institutions; and
to help organise events with a European objective on themes of current social relevance.
Generally speaking, the members of IXE are determined to promote a more energetic European awareness in debates at the national level.
Zentralkomitee der deutschen Katholiken (ZdK)
Postfach 24 01 41
53154 Bonn / Deutschland
Sigrid Schraml, +49 228 3 82 97 34
Semaines Sociales de France
18 rue Barbès
92128 Montrouge Cedex / France
Johanna Touzel : +32 2 235 05 15
Email: contact at initiative-ixe.eu