COMECE: Card. Schönborn (Vienna) in Europeinfos, “a Europe that protects does not only apply to those who live in the EU”

foto SIR/Marco Calvarese

“However important the continuing development and reshaping of the European Union may be, a ‘Europe that protects’ must take full account of the social dimension”. The Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, wrote this in the editorial that opens the summer issue of Europeinfos, the monthly newsletter of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the EU (COMECE). In a contribution that looks at the six-month Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU under the motto “A Europe that protects”, the cardinal lists some “important” social “issues”, stressing that a “Europe that protects does not only apply to those who live in the EU, but also to those who are persecuted or whose lives are threatened and who therefore seek refuge in the EU”. In this regard, “protection does not only mean accepting these people” and “giving reasonable consideration to their applications for asylum”, but particularly includes their “integration”. The cardinal calls for “concrete steps towards a common asylum system throughout the EU” and an “appropriate political strategy aimed at stemming the numerous regional conflicts that are the main cause of refugee movements”. As regards Brexit, the archbishop said “mutual insults should be avoided and the way forward to new relations made possible” since “even if the UK is no longer to be a member of the EU, it remains an important and inseparable part of Europe”.