Financial crisis central theme in interreligious dialogue. Othmar Karas MEP
The financial crisis, social security and the role of religion and religious institutions in tackling those problems were central themes at the two-day high-level conference organised by the EPP Group. More than a hundred representatives of Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Churches, the Jewish community, high-level political leaders such as Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén (Hungary) and Deputy Prime Minister Ján Figeľ (Slovak Republic) and Members of the EPP Group gathered from 9 to 11 November 2011 in Esztergom, the historical religious centre of Hungary.
Othmar Karas MEP, Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group responsible for Interreligious Dialogue and Religious Affairs, said: "Over the past two decades, the EPP Group has demonstrated its strong commitment to dialogue and cooperation with Churches and religious organisations. In times of crisis, there has never been a greater need to reinforce the cooperation between all parts of the society. Churches and religions play an important role and have influence on people's life. We will further strengthen our cooperation in order to prepare for future challenges that religious representatives and policy-makers will face together.
Mr Karas continued: "We debated the current crisis in depth. It is also a political crisis and lack of leadership. The keyword is to have more responsibility. I think this crisis which the world is going through can eventually become an opportunity rather than a threat. The crisis forces us to reflect on causes of the crisis and on solutions of a political, economic and technical nature."
The participants unanimously adopted the "Esztergom Declaration". Participants of the dialogue concluded that the current crisis has financial, economic, social, cultural and ecological aspects. The reasons behind the economic problems are two-fold: the market economy is not social and ecological enough and at the same time, the institutions do not have yet the necessary instruments to react adequately to globalisation. The over-consumption of non-durable goods, the immense environmental degradation and slow economic growth might end in social disaster, passing on economic and ecological debts to future generations and to the poor.
According the participants, the social market economy is not a model of the past but is now more important than ever. It upholds the Christian-Democrat belief in the value of human beings and their integral role at the centre of the economy.
For further information:
Othmar Karas MEP, Tel: +32-2-2845627
Eduard Slootweg, EPP Group Press and Communications Service, Tel: +32-475-721280
Miklós Panyi, EPP Group Press and Communications Service, Tel: +32-473-866137
Notes to Editors:
The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 264 Members.