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Over sixty people gathered at a three-day workshop entitled "Rediscovering the European Common Good" to analyse, discuss and influence the past, present and future of Europe.

The weekend workshop was introduced by Marie de Saint-Cheron and Martin Maier SJ, representing the co-organisers the Passion for Europe group and the Jesuit European Social Centre (JESC). In her opening speech and presentation, Victoria Martín de la Torre emphasised the importance of the dream, the vision and the sources that the “providential” European project has been based upon.

Migration flows

The first panel on migration flows opened a heated debate on the “chaos” of the current so-called “migrants crisis.” Stephen Ryan, from the European Commission, emphasised the need of a “controlled migration” since “uncontrolled migration creates insecurity in our citizenry.” José Ignacio Garcia SJ, from the Jesuit Refugee Service - Europe, focused on the ambivalent role of the NGOs that now even themselves a question that should have an obviously positive answer: “Why should we protect people?” - something that has been dealt with well and that “we need to calm down the situation” as “we are getting neurotic.” Michael Schöpf SJ, from the Center for Global Questions, declared “I cannot be a Christian without the recognition of the other person [of others] in full humanity.” For Schöpf, “it is not about charity but about virtue” when dealing with the crisis, emphasizing “practice.” Torsten Moritz, from the Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe, called for consistent and necessary action.
The late afternoon ensued with work in groups, the results of which will be presented on Sunday. In the evening, the participants enjoyed and discussed a video of Pope Francis's speech on Europe and an ensuing social hour.

Integral ecology

Chiara Martinelli, the executive adviser on sustainable development at CIDSE, opened and moderated the Saturday morning session on Integral ecology at the Rediscovering the European Common Good Workshop.

After a warm and poetic introduction, Martinelli gave floor first to Andrea Tilche, the Acting Director of the Directorate Environment of the European Commission. Tilche emphasised from the outset that “We have to go to zero. We have to stop emissions very soon.” He called out that a "systemic change needs to happen because the time is running short.” Critical of the Christian contribution, Tilche remarked that “Maybe the Church has not taken up the mobilisation, the understanding, and the immense significance of Pope’s Encyclical Laudato Si’."

Philippe Lamberts, a Member of the European Parliament, drew strongly upon the Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ . Lamberts stressed that “the topic of Laudato Si’ is the on of the human dignity." But, then continued: "When the Pope spoke at the European Parliament he got a standing ovation. Did we perceive any changes afterwards? Absolutely not.”

Martin Maier SJ, the secretary of European affairs at JESC, said as a third panelist that “The impact of this Encyclical astonishing. Laudato si’ is a very fruitful document. The Pope wanted to launch a dialogue. It is a joyful and dramatic document.” Maier bemoaned the fact that often “the reception of Laudato Si’ had a stronger reception outside the Church than in the inside of the Church. The reception of this document needs time. But the time is running out. Action means systemic change.”

Pannels and sessions included the topics of migrationecology and culture. The workshop included work in groups and a live piano concert. The weekend was organised by the Passion for Europe group and JESC.

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