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Comece: Churches’ access to EU funds. Support to “areas of general interest”, such as healthcare, education, fight against poverty

(Brussels) “There are expectations about the meeting of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), due to take place on September 20th and 21st, as to the “adoption of a document that can respond to the concerns of the Churches and other lay players about access to European funds”. This has been stated in a release by the Commission of EU Bishops Conferences (Comece), which in the last few months has been following the matter of the legal framework and its enforceability to EU subsidies to the Churches. While in the current legal framework Churches and religious organisations are in themselves eligible for European funds, in fact their being defined as “non partial” or “non neutral” organisations impairs the outcome of the process. Yet, they offer quite a substantial service in several “areas of general interest”, such as healthcare, education and training, peace, fight against poverty. That’s why “Comece asks EESC to acknowledge” such “major role and contribution”, as well as “the need to improve the fund-allocating processes and decisions, so as to make them more favourable for the Churches”, by streamlining for instance the administrative procedures and changing the rules for small- or medium-size projects. After all, even the Report of the Development Commission of the European Parliament speaks of Churches and religious organisations as “major players” and as subjects that, according to EU laws, should be indiscriminately eligible for support.

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