Together for Europe

The third Together for Europe event will take place on 12 May in Brussels, at the Brussels Square Conference Center

Logo_Insieme_per_EuropaTogether for Europe, an ecumenical event that unites Christian communities and movements from all over Europe, will this year hold its third event, after the ones of Stuttgart 2004 and 2007. The event on May 12th will be held in the city that headquarters the major European Institutions, that is, Brussels. In fact, its goal, in a moment in which the sense of “fragmentation” in Europe is acute, is that of presenting to politicians the concrete outcomes of the fruitful collaboration among Christian movements from 2007 till now, and to show that a way to European unity exists even today.

Towards a just economy, the integration of those on the margins and refugees, families for a more humane society: these are a few of the needs of Europe today which will be addressed on 12 May. On that same day, there will be 150 simultaneous related events going on worldwide. One of these is that of the teens who will be holding their 2012  Run4unity, the worldwide sports-a-thon sponsored by the Teens for Unity of the Focolare Movement.

see programme

After giving a opening greeting to Brussels and the other150 cities involved, the presentation of  “Together for Europe: what is it, how it was born and what it offers to Europe today”  has been entrusted to Maria Voce, the president of the Focolare Movement. The former president of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, will also speak, delivering a talk on  “The Contributions of Christian Communities and Movements to Europe Today.” 

The word will then go to European university students, followed by a panorama on the pressing needs of Europe today and on efforts to protect life and the environment, to foster peace and active citizenship. Luigino Bruni  will then give a talk on “Towards a Just Economy.” The second part of the programme, starting at 17:00 – will be available on internet and transmitted via satellite, a video conference with other local events.

Andrea Riccardi, founder of the  Saint Egidio Community and Italian Minister for International Affairs and Integration, will also speak. Time will be given to the vision of Europe and the creative work of teenagers. Delegates from European Institutions will also be present:  Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council via video message, and  Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament.

In conclusion will be Thomas Römer, director of the Munich YMCA, and the presentation of the “Manifesto of Brussels 2012.”  Logo_Insieme_x_europa_bannerThe event was conferred the Medallion of Honour from the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, and it will be given under the patronage of José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission; Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the European Council; Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO.

There are various events connected to “Together for Europe.” We want to recall also the Economic Forum entitled: “Economy: a matter of giving: ‘to give is to win,’” which will be held the morning of 12 May at the Jozsef Antall Hall of the European Parliament.

The journey that has given way to “Together for Europe” has a long history which began on 31 October 1999 in Augsburg, at the signing of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. Gerhard Pross from Esslingen (representing the International Organizing Committee of  “Together for Europe”) said: “That was the basis of the start of this encounter to deepen relationships within our ecumenical communion: Chiara Lubich had spoken of love as the way towards unity. It was a talk dense with consequences because after it, Lutheran and Catholic delegates went out to ask mutual forgiveness from the depths of their hearts. The Holy Spirit had broken through history, and everyone there felt that something new was coming to life. This reconciliation gave way to the movement of Together.”  “The meetings that followed,” Pross continued, “have brought us to recognize that unity is not only asked of the people of God, but that it has to help to renew society in Europe.”  Whoever wishes to know more about the history of this event, please go to: www.together4europe.org

 

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