Valdemar Tomaševski: “the future of Europe should be based on Christian values”. A very concise conference, organized by ECR and EAPL-CFA, was held in Vilnius.
‘The future of Europe should be built on the foundation of Christian values,’ stated Valdemar Tomaševski, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Chairman of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance (EAPL-CFA) during the seventh conference on ‘Future of Europe. New Hope’ organized by the Group of European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) in Vilnius.
The conference was opened by ECR Co-Chairman Raffaele Fitto. In his speech, Fitto mentioned, that currently EU is no longer able to respond effectively to all the challenges it faces and that is has distanced itself from the vision of its founders. Fitto thanked Tomaševski and EAPL-CFA for organising the conference and for making an important contribution to the work of the ECR Group in the EP.
‘Europe began building a new civilization two thousand years ago. It was based on Christian values, especially the protection of life and marriage. Christianity combined ancient Greek culture, Roman law and the Old Testament, giving new quality and strength to Europe.
Thanks to this, Europe has become a world power, not only military, but above all a power of culture, architecture, technical thought and science. It has to be mentioned that first universities were established in Christian countries. The strength of European civilization set the tone for the development of the whole world; its values were carried over to all continents. These are our true roots and the foundation of our existence. The future of Europe must also be built on this foundation. Because, as St. John Paul II said: ‘a nation that does not know its past, dies and does not build its future’,’ said Tomaševski.
‘We called ourselves Christians before we even started calling ourselves Europeans,’ told Zdzisław Krasnodębski, MEP, Chairman of the Institutional Reform Policy Group in the ECR Group.
The opinion of the residents is essential for ECR which is why the group sent a reporter to the streets of Vilnius, who asked the inhabitants of Vilnius about the future of Europe. Most of the respondents spoke about the importance of families, Christian values, and about the role of equality of all EU countries and their unity in matters of key importance for Europe.
First panel – The future of Europe is a Europe of homelands
‘The founders of Europe – Schuman, Adenauer – created the Europe of Nations, it was a unifying idea, but now it has, unfortunately, been forgotten and it transforms into a mystical federation. I believe this is a big mistake. We, the inhabitants of Central and Eastern Europe, understand this very well. After all, such a federation was already created. It was the Soviet Union. And how did it end? It was a state without values, without nations, there was only one nation. It is obvious that this country ultimately suffered a major crisis, so we should not repeat these mistakes and we should create a different Europe, which the Fathers of Europe and the founders of the EU had in mind,’ said Tomaševski.
Valdemar Urban, EAPL-CFA Vice-Chairman spoke about the importance of the proper functioning of the rule of law. ‘Fair elections are the basis of every state and first of all, they should be transparent,’ said Urban. He added, that the electoral law in the European Union is well regulated, but the problem is in its implementation. ‘Some countries are more mature in terms of democratic development, others – less,’ concluded the election specialist.
Zbigniew Kuźmiuk, MEP, who was also taking part in the debate, said: ‘I represent Law and Justice party and it strongly supports the Europe of homelands.’ Kuźmiuk also added that the EU countries should maintain their political and cultural separateness. The politician noted that the idea of the reigning European Union is already beginning to collect its destructive aftermath. ‘Recently, the slogan ‘More Europe’ has become fashionable, but its implementation already has its effects, e.g. Brexit. I hope we will not continue making such mistakes,’ he said.
Patryk Jaki, MEP, member of the Solidarity Poland, pointed out two fateful and parallel processes in the EU: federalisation and cosmopolitanisation. He talked about attempts to impose a way of thinking on people. ‘Both processes take place through conquest, not respect for the opinion of all parties. If Poland or Hungary have a different opinion, they are threatened with taking away funds or certain rights,’ stated Jaki.
Second Panel – The future of Europe is the Europe of Christian values
During the second panel, Rita Tamašunienė, EAPL-CFA Member of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania spoke about the importance of Christian values for the education of the young generation of Europeans.
Beata Petkevič, EAPL-CFA Member of the Seimas, spoke about the progressive secularization in Europe. She stated that in order to oppose these destructive tendencies, it is necessary to recall and implement the thoughts of John Paul II, including his social teaching.
Česlav Olševski, also EAPL-CFA Member of the Seimas, noted that the future of Europe will depend on how we are going to live, how we live today, what are our values regarding families, human life. According to him, a perfect example is the Holy Family of Nazareth, which teaches mutual respect, helping and understanding in a family. ‘A strong family is the foundation of a strong society and state,’ concluded Olševski.
EAPL-CFA refers to Christian values in its symbolism
‘In our daily activities, we also rely on Christian values. We have them also included in our symbolism, in our logo, which shows the traditional family, that is, the relationship between a man and a woman, together with their children,’ explained EAPL-CFA chairman. In addition, the family in the logo is surrounded by the shape of the fish, which is a symbol of Christianity, a symbol of Christ.
Ichtys (ΙΧΘΥΣ) means fish in Greek. Ichtys is also an acronym for ancient Greek words.
ΙΗΣΟΥΣ (Iēsoûs) – Jesus
ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ (Christós) – Christ
ΘΕΟΥ (Theoû) – Divine
ΥΙΟΣ (Hyiós) – Son
ΣΩΤΗΡ (Sōtér) – Saviour
Jesus Christ Divine Son the Saviour.
‘European democracy will either be Christian or not at all’
V. Tomaševski stated that Europe should retain its strong Christian roots. ‘We will not have any future without our roots. Robert Schuman, the founder of a united Europe, said that ‘Europe will either be Christian, or will not exist at all,’ said Tomaševski. He mentioned, that some parties (which are listed as Christian Democrats), forget about this. ‘Some parties, that are known as Christian Democrats, reject Christian values, and this also happens in my country. We should oppose this and protect our Christian values. We should unite all people of good will, so that Christians could support initiatives based on Christian values,’ added Tomaševski.
R. Tamašunienė emphasized that another threat is the gender ideology, which confuses young people’s perspectives. She stated that there was no place for this ideology in contemporary schools.
Tomaševski: no religion in schools in France
When asked about Christian values in today’s EU, Tomaševski said that there are a lot of various opinions. ‘Of course we have positive examples. For example, ECR Group in the European Parliament has shown a reportage about the attack of the Catholic procession, which is becoming commonplace in the EU nowadays. In France, children have not been learning religion for about 100 years now and therefore they are not able to understand some things. People should oppose this, but peacefully, without fighting, but for example, by elections. Christians, who constitute the majority of our continent, should actively participate in the election process and elect their representatives, ‘ said the politician and added that this might be a solution for a crisis of values. He also mentioned atheization and consumerism as another challenges of spiritual lives of Europeans.
As a negative example illustrating the hypocrisy of the groups usurping the name of Christian Democrats, the politician cited the votes that took place in the European Parliament concerning the areas of spiritual life (euthanasia, conceived life), when half of the Christian Democrats, united in the European People’s Party, which is the biggest party in the EP, voted against the protection of life. ‘This is an example of lying to people,’ said Tomaševski.
Change for the better is possible
It was possible for the speakers to answer some questions of internet users at the end of the program. V. Tomaševski was asked whether it was possible to return to Christian roots of Europe in the Union dominated by the liberal-leftist system. ‘We can oppose it with God’s help. If we follow the principles of the Gospel, everything will be possible.’
Next – Spain
Spain will be the next country where the ECR conference on Europe’s future will take place. According to MEP Jorge Buxadé, leader of the VOX Delegation (Spain) in the European Parliament, the European project is in danger. ‘We are the only alternative that allows this project to continue. Europe’s future is not climate change, but a Europe of dialogue. The future of Europe is in Vilnius, in Madrid – the future of Europe is the Homeland,’ said Buxadé and invited everyone to the next, eighth conference which will take place on 25th June in Madrid.
ECR: we should return to the roots of European cooperation of sovereign nations
The Conference on the Future of Europe, announced in July 2019 by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, is a challenge for all European political movements that do not share the federalist vision of the Union and oppose the aim to create a European superstate.
The ECR does not believe in extremes and thinks that there is another, truly European way. The time has come to return to the idea of a Europe that respects the sovereignty of the Member States and to rebuild a Europe of mutual trust, cooperation and solidarity. Time for a new hope for Europe.
That is why there was an idea to organize a ‘European tour’ – a series of conferences on the future of the European Union.
‘We will stop in the capitals of our nations to discuss Europe’s Future with politicians, academics and civil society. We want to consider an alternative to European integration in its current shape, so that the Union can become a common project and show that this new path will free Europe from dangerous ideologies, and maybe even save it from collapsing. We believe that it is necessary to return to the roots of European cooperation of sovereign nations,’ reads the ECR statement.
The tour started in Warsaw on 11th December 2020.