Elder José A. Teixeira, president of the Europe Area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, joined 18 high-level religious leaders in Brussels this week for a meeting with leaders of the European Union (EU). They represented Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh and other religions from all over Europe in a forum titled “The Future of the European Union.”
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The gathering, on 10 June 2014, was hosted by José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, and was co-chaired by Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, and László Surján, vice president of the European Parliament. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the event, and it is the first time a representative of the Church has been invited to attend.
During the meeting, Elder Teixeira suggested that to secure a stronger and more peaceful future for Europe, faith, family and religious freedom should play an important role in shaping EU policies.
“The future of Europe is today. It’s in our families, where children learn the lessons of life: truth, honor, virtue, self-control; the value of education, honest work, and the purpose and privilege of life,” he said.
“There is a pressing need to strengthen links between EU citizens and the democratic process of the Union,” said President Barroso. “I strongly believe that the active involvement of churches and religious communities can contribute decisively to this reflection.”
The participants accepted the invitation by President Barroso to reflect on the current challenges and opportunities of EU: the pressing need to strengthen the links between EU citizens and the democratic process of the Union; its shared values of peace, freedom, democracy and rule of law; and the moral and political responsibility that must be carried out not only by the institutions, but by each individual European.
There are currently half a million Latter-day Saints in Europe.