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Churches-EU: Sofia, meeting between COMECE-CEC delegation and Bulgarian Presidency. Balkans and migrations on the agenda

(Sofia) Today a delegation from COMECE and CEC met in Sofia with the Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, Ekaterina Zakharieva, to discuss the Bulgarian EU Council Presidency. Leading the COMECE delegation was Mgr. Christo Proykov, President of the Bulgarian Bishops, who presented a reflection paper by the Catholic Church on the four priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency: “Future of Europe and Youth”, “Western Balkans”, “Security and Migration”, and “Digital Economy”. For its part, the CEC delegation, led by its General Secretary Father Heikki Huttunen, presented the work on the future of Europe that has been carried out by the Body since 2016, recalling that the next General Assembly will be held in Novi Sad, Serbia, from 31 May to 6 June. The Church representatives expressed concern for the plight of migrants, an issue that should be addressed while acknowledging that “migrants are human beings, not numbers” and that their human rights must be respected. The delegation also agreed with the Presidency on “the need to empower young people to fully participate in all levels of social, economic, and political life”. Today’s meeting, ahead of the upcoming EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia on 17 May, was also an opportunity for the representatives of the European Churches to exchange views on the EU integration process of the Western Balkans. This topic has also been the subject of a COMECE contribution published last week.

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