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SPEECH/10/560

José Manuel Durão Barroso

President of the European Commission

Statement of President Barroso following the meeting with representatives from philosophical and non-confessional organisations

Joint press conference with the President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek and the European Council President Herman Van Rompuy

Brussels, 15 October 2010

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you know the Lisbon Treaty establishes in its Article 17 the formal dialogue between European institutions and churches, religious communities and philosophical non-confessional organisations.

After we held a meeting with religious leaders on 19 July and our last meeting with philosophical non-confessional groups in June 2009, President Buzek, President Van Rompuy and myself met today with eminent representatives of philosophical and non-confessional organisations under this new legal framework.

As with the religious leaders, we discussed effective measures of combating poverty and social exclusion.

I would like to say to you that there was a very useful meeting with very important contributions. There was a great consensus about the need to put this as a priority at European level. Member States are fighting social exclusion and poverty but we should also do it at European level.

We have discussed, on the basis of the ideas that we are now exploring in the European Union, namely the Europe 2020 that has been agreed by the Parliament and the Member states following the proposals of the Commission, some objectives in terms of fight against poverty.

Very important contributions were given in terms of the need to fight poverty, also taking on board other concerns like sustainability, need for peace, need to stand up for our values, the importance of citizenship, the importance of avoiding all kinds of behaviour that is exploring populism trends in Europe and I think I can say that even if there was a discussion about what can be the best instruments, there was a great consensus in terms of the priority that the fight against poverty has today also from ethical point of view in terms of justice.

Certains de nos participants ont parlé d'un sursaut éthique. Il y a un besoin social d'un point de vue économique, mais avant tout d'un point de vue éthique, de faire face à ce fléau qui est la pauvreté dans nos sociétés.

Et donc je crois, de ce point de vue, que c'était une réflexion très importante. Tout le monde a pris la parole, certains de nos participants nous ont envoyés des documents plus structurés de réflexion, d'analyse, d'études, et bien sûr c'est un processus qu'on va continuer parce que ce serait un obstacle d'une occasion exceptionnelle.

Je tiens à remercier le Président du Conseil européen et le Président du Parlement européen d'être ici aujourd'hui. C'est l'occasion où les présidents des trois institutions européennes ont l'opportunité d'écouter directement des représentants si éminents de différentes organisations, mais bien sûr c'est un processus qui continue à différents niveaux et dans différentes formules. Pour cela, je suis vraiment satisfait des résultats de cette réunion. Maintenant, comme je sais qu'il doit prendre un avion, je donne toute suite la parole au président Buzek.


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