It is generally acknowledged that the citizens of the European Union, our Church members among them, are seldom aware of the significant impact that laws made in Brussels have on our everyday lives. In fact, EU directives affect us almost as much as do the proceedings of local parliaments and assemblies. Furthermore, there are major issues debated and legislated for in Brussels on which Churches have a distinctive theological perspective which needs to be voiced at an early stage, rather than when it is too late to carry influence.
It is important for our Churches to be aware of how the EU and its agencies operate, and to have channels of communication. As such, the European Affairs Committee of the Irish Council of Churches was established in 2013, with the following objectives:
- Bringing a Christian judgement to bear on European Affairs;
- Helping to inform and share developments in European Affairs with the Irish churches;
- Assisting in educating the Irish member churches about the European Union and it’s structures
- Stimulating and maintaining contact with ecumenical organisations in Europe and European institutions in Ireland;
- Assisting the ICC in developing policies, submissions and advocating on relevant aspects of European Affairs
The committee meets on a regular basis and continues to liaise with key representative and institutions relating to the European Union.
Ahead of the June 2016 Referendum on the United Kingdom’s Membership of the European Union, the committee produced a discussion paper entitled ‘The Irish Churches and the EU Referendum‘, addressing a number of important questions to help churches and individuals engage with their important decision.