Dialogue with churches, religious associations or communities and philosophical and non-confessional organisations

The dialogue with churches, religious associations or communities and philosophical and non-confessional organisations allows for an open exchange of views between EU institutions and important parts of European society on EU policies. It was established in the beginning of the 1990s by EU Commission President Jacques Delors and offers an opportunity to engage in the European policy making process. Currently the dialogue is under responsibility of the First Vice President Timmermans (website/Facebook page/Twitter).

On 2 October 2017, Mr Vincent Depaigne has been appointed as Coordinator for the dialogue between the European Commission and churches, religious associations or communities as well as philosophical and non-confessional organisations, succeeding Ms Katharina von Schnurbein who had served in this function from January 2012 to July 2017.

Contribute to the exchange on Twitter: #Art17Dialogue

In the news

7 November 2017: First Vice-President Frans Timmermans hosted the annual High-level meeting with Religious Leaders (press release).

Programme

List of participants

Please find here some pictures.

27 October 2017: First Vice-President Frans Timmermans spoke at the opening ceremony of the (Re)thinking Europe Conference organised by COMECE (Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community) in the Vatican

9 October 2017: First Vice-President Frans Timmermans held a speech at Grandes Conférences Catholiques, « Les valeurs font l'Union. Sans valeurs, pas d'Union ».

2 October 2017: Mr Vincent Depaigne has been appointed as the European Commission Coordinator for the dialogue between the European Commission and churches, religious associations or communities, philosophical and non-confessional organisations established under Article 17 TFEU. (News)

28 September 2017: "Engaging Muslim Young People in the Future of Europe Debate". 29 Muslim university students and activists from 17 Member States discussed issues as diverse as social Europe, globalisation, workplace discrimination, identity, European citizenship, radicalization, EU foreign policy, migration and integration in this one-day conference hosted by Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and EP First Vice-President Mairead McGuinness.

Programme

21 September 2017Message  (please find here the FR version ) by Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission, to the Muslim community on the occasion of European Action Day countering Hate Speech against Muslims and on Islamic New Year.
20 September 2017: Message  (please find here FR and DE versions) from First Vice-President Frans Timmermans to the Jewish Community in Europe, on the occasion of Rosh-Hashana.

7 July 2017, Brussels: dialogue seminar on the "Future of Europe", with the participation of some 30 representatives from religious and non-confessional organisations.

List of participants

Programme

27 June 2017: First Vice-President Frans Timmermans spoke at the European Parliament Art 17 conference "The Future of Europe - Reflections for the EU by 2025"

19 June 2017: First Vice-President Frans Timmermans hosts in Brussels the annual High-level meeting with Philosophical and Non-confessional Organisations (press release).

Programme

List of participants

For more pictures

For a clip

 

11 May 2017: a delegation from KAICIID International Dialogue Centre met EU officials to present their activities.

Please find here the programme and the list of participants

 

29 November 2016: First Vice-President Frans Timmermans hosts the 12th annual high-level meeting with religious leaders from across Europe to discuss "Migration, integration and European values" (press release).

Programme

List of participants

For more pictures

For a clip

 

 

 24 October 2016: Commission-COMECE-CEC dialogue seminar on 'Migration: mapping and addressing fear'

  Presentations:  COMECE-CEC Press release of 25/10/2016: Migrants: from fear to compassion
 

 30 September 2016: message pdf(50 kB) from First Vice-President Frans Timmermans to the Jewish Community in Europe, on the occasion of Rosh-Hashana.

 

 30 June 2016: Brussels, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans hosted the annual High-level Meeting with Non-Confessional Organisations (press release).

 

 

 22 June 2016: Brussels, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans participated in an Iftar celebration hosted by the Plateforme des Musulmans de Belgique, the Union des Mosquées de la Region de Bruxelles and the Ligue des Imams de Belgique.

 

1 June 2016: Brussels, dialogue seminar on "Facing european crisis: refugees, intolerance, role of youth", jointly organised by the European Commission - DG Justice and Consumers, Association européenne de la pensée libre (AEPL), Alliance maçonnique européenne (AME), Contribution des obédiences maçonniques libérales et adogmatiques à la construction européenne (COMALACE), Egalité Laïcité Europe (EGALE), Fédération humaniste européenne (FHE).

 

 22 April 2016: First Vice-President Frans Timmermans met Bishop Bedford-Strohm and the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany

 

 27 January 2016: Message pdf(43 kB) by President Jean-Claude Juncker to the Jewish community on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day

 

 15 December 2015: First Vice-President Frans Timmermans meeting with Cardinal Gerhard Müller in Strasbourg.

 

 13 December 2015: speech pdf(214 kB) held by First Vice-President Frans Timmermans during the celebration of Hanukkah at the Grande Synagogue de l'Europe, Brussels.

 

 8 December 2015: speech pdf(203 kB) from First Vice-President Frans Timmermans during the celebration of EuroHanukkah.

 

 4 December 2015: message from First Vice-President Frans Timmermans on the occasion of Hanukkah 2015.

 

2 December 2015: Brussels, dialogue seminar on "Beyond the refugee crisis: integration of migrants into society and labour market", jointly organised by the European Commission - DG Justice and Consumers, the Conference of European Churches - CEC, the Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe - CCME, and the Commission of the Episcopates of the European Communities - COMECE.

 

18 November 2015: Brussels, dialogue seminar on the topic of "Living together in Europe" ("Vivre ensemble en Europe"), jointly organised by the European Commission - DG Justice and Consumers, and COMALACE - Contribution des Obédiences Maçonniques Libérales et Adogmatiques á la Construction Européenne. The meeting was focussed on the integration of migrants into society.

   

Moving testimonies about antisemitism and anti-Muslim hatred in Europe today, given at the first Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights on 1st October:

   
 

A videoclip on the annual high level meetings with religious leaders and philosophical and non-confessional organisations from across Europe, hosted by First Vice-President Timmermans on 2nd and 16th June 2015.

 

16th June 2015: First Vice-President Timmermans hosted the annual high level meeting with religious leaders. (Newsroom)

 

2nd June 2015: First Vice-President Frans Timmermans hosted the annual high level meeting with philosophical and non-confessional organisations. (Newsroom)

 

 2nd June 2015: First Vice-President Frans Timmermans met Ms Louma Albik, President of SB Overseas.

 

1st June 2015: First Vice-President Frans Timmermans met President Yvan Biefnot and Vice-President Tony Van der haegen of the European Association of Free Thought.

 

11 May 2015:First Vice-President Frans Timmermans addressing the Plenary Assembly of the Conference of European Rabbis in Toulouse. (video)

 

24 March 2015: First Vice-President Frans Timmermans spoke at an event at the European Parliament on religious radicalism and the role of inter-faith dialogue in the framework of the Article 17 dialogue. He stressed: "I believe we, in Europe, have lost sometimes the understanding of what it is to be religious. Sometimes you get the impression that religion is a choice like fashion (...) Which is the case for some people, but which is not the case for many, many millions more. And the lack of understanding of each other's religious beliefs (...)  is one of the problems we face in Europe." (Full speech / video)

 

23 March 2015: Brussels, dialogue seminar with the Association Européenne de la Pensee Libre - AEPL,  on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement.

 

 27 November 2014: Brussels, dialogue seminar on "Common actions to fight trafficking in human beings", jointly organised by the European Commission - European political Strategy Centre, the Church and Society Commission of the Conference of European Churches (CEC), in cooperation with the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) and the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE).

 

 12 November 2014: First Vice-President Frans Timmermans meeting a delegation from the Conference of the European Rabbis.

Legal basis

The Treaty of Lisbon explicitly introduces the idea of a dialogue between European institutions and churches, religious associations or communities as well as philosophical and non-confessional organisations (Article 17):

  1. The Union respects and does not prejudice the status under national law of churches and religious associations or communities in the Member States.
  2. The Union equally respects the status under national law of philosophical and non-confessional organisations.
  3. Recognising their identity and their specific contribution, the Union shall maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with these churches and organisations.

In July 2013 the European Commission published Guidelines on the implementation of Article 17pdf at the European Commission which set the framework for this "open, transparent and regular dialogue".

Background

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 marked a turning point in European history. The then EU Commission President Jacques Delors (in office 1985-1994), was well aware of the challenges ahead. These included the prospect of EU enlargement and the construction of a political union that would match the ambitions of the economic and later monetary union.

The starting point was talking to representatives of organisations active in the fields of science, culture and religion. The aim was to exchange ideas about the meaning and implications of the European integration process. Consequently, the EU Commission introduced a regular dialogue with religions, churches and communities of conviction. Delors' successors, Jacques Santer, Romano Prodi, as well as the current President, José Manuel Barroso, kept the tradition and developed it further, regarding it as an important instrument of participatory democracy.

Under the Juncker Commission First Vice President Timmermans is responsible for the dialogue.

Activities under the previous Commission have been archived.