The core mission at JESC (Jesuit European Social Centre) is to reflect on the life, policies and practice of the European Union. We seek an engagement which authentically expresses Christian faith, remains close to the poor and marginalised, analyses social reality with competence, and advocates for justice in European political structures. In a context in which the EU is undergoing the most acute political crisis of its existence, JESC seeks a critical but constructive engagement with the EU. As a work of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials, JESC expresses the commitment of the Society of Jesus to a Europe where human rights, freedom and solidarity are the foundation of integration.

Operationally, JESC is organized in four Secretariats:

    • - European Affairs: an institutional presence in Brussels to the EU Institutions, and with ecclesial and civil society organizations that relate to them, facilitating discussion and reflection of European issues.
    • - Justice: coordination and assistance to the four Justice Networks of the JCEP and support for the Delegate for the Social Apostolate of the Conference.
    • - Ecology: support for the advocacy work on integral ecology of Jesuits and partners under the umbrella of EcoJesuit; publication of “Eco-bites”, our ecology newsletter.
    • - Leadership: running of the European Leadership Programme (ELP), a five-month Ignatian based formation that combines European politics, the experience of living in community, and practical insights into the European institutions, and also spiritual reflection, coaching sessions and volunteering activities.

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In the last week of April, JESC’s Future Generations project held its first workshop at the beautiful Maison Notre Dame du Champ d’Oiseau in Brussels. A two-day open and creative discussion among environmental professionals and high-level civil servants from the main institutions of the EU discussed some theoretical questions with very practical implications: Does it make sense to set up an office that has the mission to ensure long-term thinking in the EU? In case it does, should it work in the legislative procedure, or should it be a watchdog focusing on implementation? What would be the best way to make it a legitimate and efficient actor? These are questions that will continue being addressed in this project’s next workshops, and a short summary of the findings will soon be available. This month, JESC has published its 2022 Annual Report which provides a detailed overview of the 2022 developments and achievements that have taken place within JESC. Read all about the efforts focusing on promoting the vision and values of Europe through a range of activities, publications, projects, and events here.
The European Leadership Programme (ELP), in partnership with UCSIA  and USOS (the University Foundation for Development Cooperation), is offering a Research Fellowship to someone from the Global South who is interested in supporting the network of associated partners in the Global South. The Fellow will be joining the USOS staff team based on their interests/talents, and more importantly developing their own project within the field of social economy, ecology, social justice, or European policy. The Fellowship lasts 10 months, starting from ELP's Fall 2023 cohort. Find out more and apply here.
On April 17th, JESC and the Passion for Europe group held an event titled “What Hope for Europe? Rethinking the Christian contribution” at the Chapel for Europe. Guest speakers included Archbishop Noel Treanor, Apostolic Nuncio to the European Union, Revd. Sarah-Jane King, Anglican priest and EU official, Clemens Ladenburger, Deputy Director of the Legal Service in the European Commission, and Victoria Vdovychenko, associate professor at Borys Grichenko Kyiv University and Fellow at Aston University. Their speeches offered insightful reflections on the Christian contribution in the context of European Affairs and Politics. In that, pertinent points were brought regarding the possibility of building bridges between Eastern and Western Europe, the opportunity for dialogue thanks to the Church, and the unity of the wider community to bring about change. Participants were able to follow the discussion online, whilst in-person participants were able to enjoy an informal cocktail afterwards with the speakers. A more comprehensive description of the speeches can be found here, and the recording of the event is available here.  JESC 
On April 17th, the Passion for Europe group, in collaboration with JESC and hosted by Chapel for Europe, will be holding a hybrid event titled “What hope for Europe? Rethinking the Christian contribution.” Speakers include Archbishop Noel Treanor, Apostolic Nuncio to the European Union; Rev. Sarah-Jane King, Anglican priest and Officer in the European Commission; Clemens Ladenburger, Deputy Director of the Legal Service in the European Commission; and Victoria Vdovychenko, Associate Professor at Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University and Fellow at Aston University (UK).    Date: Monday 17th of April - 18h30 - 20h00 CET   Where: Chapel for Europe, rue Van Maerlant 22/24, 1040 Bruxelles   Attendance is free, but registration is required here. (a zoom link will be sent for those attending online)
Permanent Representation for Future Generations  With funding from the European Climate Foundation, JESC is developing a potential campaign for the establishment of a permanent Representation of Future Generations (FGR) in the EU institutional framework.  FGR would be an institution with soft and hard legal powers to influence the discourse and decision making process in Brussels in favor of the future generations – primarily aiming at climate policies. There are multiple possible blueprints for such an institution. This institution will be built on the lessons learned from climate lawsuits across the globe and its task will be to enhance the efficiency of climate-related law-enforcement across the EU.   The responsibility of FGR is to find and expose systematic (climate-related) shortcomings of policies in the body of European law. FGR is taking a long-term and holistic view in policy debates, and represents a perspective that focuses on the interests of our grandchildren. It is fighting for policies that preserve the natural resources that are necessary for a decent life in any cultural context.  The Project  In 2023 JESC is doing an extensive consultation with experts and potential partners, exploring the legal avenues that would lead them to this goal and envisioning the communications campaign that is necessary to lobby successfully.  JESC will organize 4 in person meetings and many consultations and will deliver a feasibility study and likely a project plan for the implementation of this plan. Read more about it here.  Picture: credit: Markus Spiske  
On February 16th, Fellows, partners and friends of the European Leadership Programme (ELP) gathered at Press Club Brussels to celebrate the completion and achievements of the Fellows’ last 5 months within ELP. The evening began with beautiful speeches by JESC Director, Filipe Martins SJ, followed by Barbara Segaert, Project Coordinator at UCSIA, who have remained close to the Fellows throughout the whole programme. Heartfelt testimonials by current, Anna Taraczkozi, and former, Gianmarco Palermo, Fellows were shared, allowing the audience to get a feel of what it is like being a part of the ELP community. Before reaching the awaited certificate distribution moment, our keynote speaker, Pierre Gurdjian, board member and co-founder of Belgium's 40 under 40, took us to the top of a building through his speech, breaking down the importance of understanding the self through an assessment of the world and finding our place in it all. This memorable event ended with an “Irish blessing for the way” from Archbishop Noel Treanore, the new Apostolic Nuncio to the EU, and an apéro dînatoire where participants were able to mingle, catch up, and meet new friends of ELP.