World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

The action of the Central Committee

02 September 2003

The Central Committee of the World Council of Churches, meeting in Geneva
August 26-September 2, 2003.

1. Takes note of the previous WCC Central Committee resolution on Europe in
1992, and of the significant developments which have affected Europe during
the last decade.

2. Appreciates the particular roles played by the Conference of European Churches
and other European ecumenical organizations, working closely in collaboration
with Roman Catholic partner organizations, in monitoring and influencing
European developments and integration.

3. Welcomes the increased ecumenical cooperation in Europe, including the
process stimulated by the Charta Oecumenica.

4. Reaffirms the unique roles in the European integration process of the Council
of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, being
the most inclusive of the European Institutions.

5. (a) Welcomes the accession of 10 new members from Central and Eastern
Europe and the Mediterranean to the European Union, as a major accomplishment
to overcome the dividing line of the Cold War and encourages an integration
process towards real unity and equality in Europe;

(b) Cautions against the risk of new divisions emerging along historical, religious,
ethnic and economic fault-lines in Europe, both between Eastern and
Western Christian cultures, and between Christianity and Islam, and therefore;

(c) Urges that priority is given to the integration of Bulgaria and Romania
into the European Union, and to deepening cooperation, peace-building and
integration between member states of the European Union and the countries
of the Western Balkans and of the former Soviet Union.

6. (a) Insists that poverty eradication, respect for human rights (political, civil, economic,
social and cultural) and respect for God's creation should be the overarching
objectives for the European Union's development policies and that these
objectives are fully integrated in the Union's policies in other areas such as agriculture,
fisheries, trade, environment, and common foreign and security policy.

(b) Urges the European Union to increase its efforts to develop international
law and standards on human rights, humanitarian law and corporate social
responsibility, to meet the challenges of globalization and to work for the
recognition and functioning of the International Criminal Court.

7. (a) Recognizes the fundamental changes taking place in European security
arrangements, and welcomes efforts to strengthen multilateral common foreign
and security policy in the region, guided by fundamental principles of
human rights, ethics and morality, and to work towards comprehensive security
arrangements based on common and human security;

(b) Challenges the practice and intention of individual countries and alliances
to intervene militarily without the mandate of the UN Security Council, insists
on the need for all European states to uphold the international framework of
the UN Charter, and underlines the need for any military action to comply
with international law.

8. (a) Recognizes the fundamental contributions of Christianity and other religions
to European history and civilization, which ought to be reflected in the
preamble of the draft European Constitution, and the renewed role of religion
in the social, political and cultural life of European states and societies;

(b) Welcomes and affirms the recognition of the specific contribution of the
churches and religious communities as partners in dialogue with the European
Institutions, as proposed in the draft Constitution of the European Union;

(c) Emphasizes the importance of monitoring church-state relations, rights of
religious minorities and religious freedom, and the need to respect the collective
and individual rights of religious believers, while recognizing different
models of church-state relations and diverse cultural and historical models
across Europe.

9. (a) Encourages the churches in Europe to maintain and strengthen relations
of fellowship, solidarity and mutual exchange with churches in other regions,
and underlines the importance for churches of closely monitoring developments
and speaking out in areas where Europe has a particular global responsibility,
including trade and development, environment, peace and conflict
prevention, migration and asylum, trafficking of human beings and racism,
in order to uphold and strengthen the principles of justice and human rights.

(b) Recognizing the dangers of transatlantic divides in global security policies,
encourages the member churches in Europe and the USA to work together
in dialogue and cooperation, and to seek to influence their governments
towards a multilateral approach for global peace and justice.

10. Appreciates the efforts of WCC staff to monitor the major developments in
Europe, and commends the policy update on Europe to WCC member churches
and asks the WCC general secretary and staff to continue these efforts with
the member churches, CEC and other European church- and ecumenical
organizations and to take action as appropriate.