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22 March 2007 / EN

Peace belongs to the people : the interfaith dialogue in cities and regions of Europe

Rome Declaration

The Members of the European People’s Party Group in the Committee of the Regions of the EU promote interfaith dialogue starting at regional and local level, aiming at stability and peace in Europe. Dignity of the human person, freedom and responsibility, solidarity, subsidiarity, justice, the rule of law and democracy are the main values defended and promoted by the EPP and are the basis for a society based on mutual respect, tolerance and fruitful dialogue between moderates at all levels, including in our cities and regions.

Today in Rome, on the occasion of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, holding a debate with representatives of different religions and representatives of cities and regions across Europe is more than symbolic; it represents the promotion of a concrete tool to promote social cohesion and consolidate peace.

The Europe of tolerance and mutual respect starts from our cities and regions.

The European People’s Party Group in the Committee of the Regions:

  1. Stresses that the European Union is a winning project as it is a project unifying people, by respecting their diversities in their respective countries, regions and cities. During these 50 years of removing barriers and frontiers between Member States, our cities and regions have become territories characterised by a multitude of differences and minorities, each group having its own history, culture, and religion. It supports religious pluralism and encourages direct dialogue between religions and societies as the best way to ensure and spread mutual understanding and respect. It therefore promotes deeper mutual knowledge in order to challenge ignorance and prejudices in our cities and regions.
  2. Underlines in this context the important role played by local and regional authorities in taking part, through their proximity to citizens, in the intercultural and interfaith dialogue, which is a promoter of peace in Europe and in the world. Stresses the reciprocal interactions and influences existing between religions, spiritual and humanistic traditions and daily life in European cities and regions where citizens should always be free to practice whichever religion while respecting the choice of each other. Promotes grassroot activities, particularly in potentially sensitive areas and amongst target populations. In this regard, mutual respect should be strongly promoted through effective communication and education whereby different groups of society learn to live together respectful of each other’s differences, while recognising what they have in common, sharing the same fundamental human values of peace, democracy and equality.
  3. Supports that, in the event of possible conflicts and tensions in our cities and regions, political and religious leaders make use of their political and moral authority in order to call upon conciliation, respect, comprehension and cooperation. Encourages all political leaders in Europe’s cities and regions to engage themselves in interfaith dialogues and to contribute to the exchange of experiences, in order to guarantee stability and peace in their respective regions and cities, in the interest of all citizens. Appeals to all different religious leaders to strengthen their joint work for the well-being of communities and individuals, regardless of their origins and background.
  4. Calls on the European Parliament to promote a European Charter for interfaith dialogue and on the European Commission and the Member States to organise a European Platform for interfaith dialogue between the EU and religions, including local and regional authorities, in the spirit of Article I-52 (3) of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, with a view to developing, starting from our cities and regions, a systematic and coherent dialogue in order to contribute to the peaceful and harmonious cohabitation of all European citizens.