EC Article 17 High-level Dialogue Meeting on the Conference on the Future of Europe, 14 January 2022

Bishop Kaisamari Hintikka, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland


The ongoing Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) is indeed an exciting initiative that is important for all European citizens as well as civil society throughout Europe – including churches and religious communities. I especially welcome the strong focus on involving young people – they are not just the future of Europe but part of the European experience now and today.

As the Conference of European Churches we have been following the CoFoE and contributing to the process in various ways. Being deeply rooted in all EU Member States and beyond, churches are in a natural position to act as bridge-builders and to restore trust between countries and people throughout Europe. And building bridges and restoring trust is truly what the CoFoE is all about.

At the moment, Europe, as well as the whole global community, is facing multiple major challenges, such as the climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic and migration. Rapid changes create insecurity and fear and, in facing these, people tend to seek simple explanations. And simple explanations are fertile soil for polarization, fragmentation, and lack of solidarity. This is why we need every bridge builder, peace maker, and every community of hope and good will to build the future of Europe that is rooted in the values of human rights, solidarity and democracy.

The particularity of churches in the European project has been to stand for our common European values: undivided human rights, human value, justice, peace and the common good are deeply rooted in the core of our faith and theology. They are indeed an integral part of our self-understanding; of our DNA.

Together with other religious communities in Europe, we need to dialogue and to work together against all forms of inequalities, hate crime and violence. We must not take our common values for granted, but stand up for these, and build European democracy in an active and inclusive way, in solidarity. Again, it is all about building bridges and restoring trust.

This is why we, as Article 17 stakeholders, have a crucial role in building the future of Europe. We have high hopes for the CoFoE, hoping that it will lead to concrete outcomes, truly contributing to a joint vision of the direction the EU should take in the next decade and beyond.