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European elections: Irish bishops encourage participation of all citizens for “a Parliament upholding the values on which the EU is built”

The Irish Bishops’ Conference has urged the citizens of Ireland (North and South) to vote for the renewal of the European Parliament just a few days before election day. “We need a European Parliament that will protect and uphold the values on which the EU is built”, the bishops wrote in their appeal-statement, recalling that the Treaty of the European Union outlines that the “Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities”. The EU “in its foundation – the bishops added -, was rooted in Christian principles of social justice, including the common good, solidarity and subsidiarity”. “What is decided by MEPs in the European Parliament affects us all here on the island of Ireland – the statement reads -. Similarly, our vote and our elected representatives in Europe can influence debates and decisions taken at EU level”. Participation in the vote on 23 (in the North) and 24 May (in the South) is of great importance, “given the potentially profound and far-reaching implications of Brexit for all citizens on this island”. Hence the call on “all citizens who can vote in these elections, to do so, with a particular concern for the common good rather than for local or national interests”. The EU Parliament, the bishops recall, “is the House of European citizens and is elected by them directly”. And even if the EU has some critical aspects, we must “recognise the good it has delivered in promoting solidarity between European peoples and nations”, its contribution “to developing our economies and regions”, and “its greatest achievement”, that is, “maintaining peace in Europe” after World War II. “The European project, its institutions and its political method – the bishops’ appeal concluded -, are key to promoting and consolidating a lasting peace”.

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