Bishops Conference in Europe talks with government

 Representatives from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales have held a meeting with Baroness Patricia Scotland, a British government representative to the European Convention. Mgr Andrew Summersgill and Dr David Ryall, Secretary of the Bishops' Department of International Affairs, talked to Baroness Scotland - Parliamentary Secretary in the Lord Chancellor's Department - about the Church's contribution to the European Convention. At the meeting, Mgr Summersgill presented the minister with The Future of Europe: Political Commitment, Values and Religion, the COMECE (Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community) submission to the Convention. COMECE drew up the document with the support of the Holy See as a contribution to the Convention's work. It focuses upon the values that should underpin the institutional changes that will accompany the EU's proposed enlargement in 2004. The Future of Europe urges the Convention should have at its core principles such as the "centrality of the human being, solidarity, subsidiarity and transparent democracy". The submission goes on to argue that if the enlarged EU is to be truly a "community of values" then the Convention's recommendations must "enhance the EU's contribution to peace and prosperity in Europe and fulfil its responsibility for promoting development, justice and freedom elsewhere in the world". Baroness Scotland welcomed the Bishops' Conference's interest and said she felt it was important for the Church to contribute to the debate on Europe's future. Mgr Summersgill said: "It was a very positive meeting. The COMECE submission is an invaluable contribution to this vital process. The Church assesses the growth of the European Union very much on how it develops the Common Good." source: CCS

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