Bishop Moran urges "partnership" rather than "confrontation" as guiding principle of newly enlarged EU.
In a letter to the Aberdeen Press & journal newspaper this weekend Bishop Peter Moran of Aberdeen has echoed the call made by the Irish Minister for Europe Mary Hanafin who called for the enlarged EU to go beyond "mere economic or political criteria" when looking for principles to govern life within the EU.
The full text of Bishop Moran's letter is shown below.
1 May 2004
To the Editor, The Press and Journal
History is being made today, Saturday 1st May, when ten new countries join the European Union. This is the biggest single enlargement of the EU.
There is discussion at present here in Britain about how, or even whether, to welcome these new member states. There is much talk about the risks involved.
At an international pilgrimage and at a congress of Roman Catholic European bishops both held last week in Spain, the talk I heard was much more positive.
I was particularly impressed by a speech delivered in Leon by Mary Hanafin, from Ireland, who is Minister of State in the European Parliament. She spoke from the heart. She urged us to enlarge the principles that govern life within the European Union, and to go beyond mere economic or political criteria.
Ms Hanafin was only one of many (out of three hundred, from twenty-five countries) who spoke of a new Europe based on mutual respect, the upholding of human rights, justice and peace. Countries in partnership could learn from each other s experiences and successes. This would be very different from a Europe of competitive confrontation between nations seeking to dominate.
This vision was first announced shortly after World War Two, but usually regarded as a mere dream. Perhaps at last it can become reality.
However, leaders alone cannot make the dream come true. It is up to all of us to prevent the vision being corrupted by our selfishness. Peace must be much more than just the fall of the Iron Curtain and the end of the Cold War.
This has practical consequences for the way in which we welcome people from these new countries, who value their hard-won freedoms. Those of us who claim to be the inheritors of what is best in the Christian tradition of Europe must rise above the fears which could lead to a Britain unwilling to recognise our European brothers and sisters.
A statement issued in June 2003 by COMECE (the Commission of European Bishops Conferences) had the title Ouvrons nos coeurs (Let us open our hearts). That should be the spirit in which we welcome today s historic event.
+Peter A Moran
Bishop of Aberdeen
Catholic Media Office
5 St. Vincent Place
0141 221 1168