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On Thursday 24 May 2018, the Representation Office of the Church of Greece to the EU was invited and took part in a meeting organised by the European Committee for the representatives of Religions and Humanist Organisations in the frame of Article 17 of the European Treaty.

The subject of this meeting was the exchange of views concerning the new Recommendation on promoting common values, inclusive education, and the European dimension of teaching that had been adopted by the European Council of Ministers of Education the day before.

Attending this meeting were Vincent DEPAIGNE (Coodinator for the Article 17 Dialogue with Churches, Religions and Philosophical and Non-confessional Organisations, DG Justice & Consumers),

Sarah LYNCH (Policy Officer, DG Education, Youth, Sport & Culture),

David FRIGGIERI (Coodinator on combating anti-Muslim hatred, DG Justice & Consumers),

Johannes BÖRMANN (Deputy Coordinator on combating Antisemitism, DG Justice & Consumers),

Marta MARKOWSKA (Policy Officer, DG Education, Youth, Sport & Culture),

Rachel BAYANI (BahaI International Community),

Jean DE BRUEKER (Centre dAction Laique),

Olivia CAEYMAEX (Quaker Council for European Affairs),

Julia EICHLER (Council of the Protestant Church in Germany),

Michael KUHN (Representative of the Commission of the Episcopates of the European Community, COMECE),

Marc MENSCHAERT (Grand Master of Grand Orient de Belgique),

Dimitra MISSIRA (KAICIID Dialogue Centre),

Herve PARMENTIER (Director of the European Humanist Federation),

Michel PRAET (Grand Tyler of the Grand lodge of Belgium),

Rabbi Alexander TAWIL (Director of the European Jewish Community Centre) et alii.

The Director of the Representation Office of the Church of Greece to the EU his Eminence  Metropolitan Athanasios was represented in this meeting by the Advisor to the Representation Office of the Church of Greece  Archpriest Dr. Georgios Lekkas.

During this meeting the representative of his Eminence made the following comment on the new Recommendation:

"The proposal insists on common values with reference to the Article 2 of the European Treaty. We believe that to move the European project forward the protection of human rights, democracy and equity is not enough. We believe that common European spiritual values based on the Christian culture of Europe, that is love, giving way to others and humility are of absolute importance for an European unification project.

Secondly, human rights for the protection of human dignity, democracy and equity cannot be taught credibly in schools, without provoking students’ irony, if these values are not implemented visibly in the political society in which students are called to be citizens. If it is so, it is of absolute urgency for European measures to be taken against Member States which do not sufficiently respect common European values.

Thirdly, the Proposal tends to emphasize the protection of the human rights of minorities [See paragraph 1 of this Proposal]. However, at national level, we observe a growing reaction from majorities that have the feeling of being completely sidelined owning to the activity of well-organized minorities. We believe that European legislation must inspire in European people not only tolerance to the benefit of minorities but also tolerance to the benefit of majorities.

Fourth and last! It is true that students must primarily learn as best as possible their mother tongue. At the same time, it is of absolute urgency for our common European future to promote the teaching of a common language in all European schools if possible to the same level as the national mother tongue. The choice of this language must then be the subject of a pan-European referendum."