EHF and the European Parliament
Like the European Commission, the European Parliament regularly organises meetings with churches and EHF on European issues.
The EHF also conducts advocacy work on issues of EP competence to ensure the adoption of progressive policies.
The EHF is also an active supporter of the European Parliamentary Platform for Secularism in Politics.
Support to the European Parliament Platform for Secularism in Politics
Chaired by Dutch MEP Sophie in’t Veld, the objective of the Platform is to promote and defend the secular nature and the neutrality of the EU institutions, the strict separation of church and state, and equal treatment of all citizens, whether of religious or secular life stance.
EHF attends and contributes to all meetings, and serves on the Advisory Board to the Platform along with other NGOs, including religious ones, that support secularism.
The Platform is the successor to the All Party Working Group on Separation of Religion and Politics (2004-2009)
Reports of EPPSP meetings from 2012 to present are available on EPPSP website
2014 EHF Memorandum for European elections : Stand for Secularism and Human Rights !
European elections in May 2014 will be crucial for humanists in Europe. The rise of radical populist parties, the persisting societal conservatism in several EU Member States and the extremist religious lobbying at EU level are challenges to the progressive values we defend.
2013 Meeting with EP President on "Strengthening European Democracy : Citizens Participation"
2012 Meeting with EP President on “intergenerational solidarity”
On 14 November 2012, the European Parliament President met with several representatives of churches and non-confessional organizations, including the European Humanist Federation (EHF) and the Belgian Centre d’Action Laïque (CAL) for a dialogue meeting on “intergenerational solidarity”.
2011 Meeting with EP President about implementation of Article 17 : Dialogue of the deaf
The President of the Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, called a meeting on 30 November 2011, almost at the end of his mandate, to discuss how the Parliament should implement the Article 17 dialogue with ‘philosophical and non-confessional organisations’. We were higly dissatisfied by the way the dialogue was organised.
2010 Letter to EP President
In July 2010, there was a meeting between the Presidents of the Parliament, Commission and Council held (under Article 17) with leaders of the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh religions. The President of the Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, announced that he had “designated one of Parliament’s Vice Presidents to take specific responsibility for ensuring relations with churches and religions” and that he would be meeting the presidents of the two organisations of European Christian bishops (COMECE and CEC) in September to discuss the implementation of Article 17.
2010 Meeting with MEPs at the European Parliament
On 26-27 January 2010 we organised a meeting at the European Parliament. Ten people from ten EHF member organisations in seven countries had meetings with 15 MEPs and the assistants of two others. The MEPs came from ten countries and four political groups. We raised issues including:
- the unfair operation of the dialogue under Article 17, which is heavily biassed towards religion;
- the need for the EU to take steps to safeguard civil liberties in its own member states if it is going to preach human rights to third countries;
- the way the churches, fast losing members across Europe, are resisting the loss of their privileges by painting themselves as victims of “Christianophobia”; and
- the dangers of creationism.
Afterwards, one of our group, Naomi Phillips, head of public affairs with the British Humanist Association, said “We were delighted with the warm reception we received from MEPs from all different political groups, many of whom were sympathetic to our position. We hope that the issues raised by the EHF will be taken up in the European Parliament and wider.”
2009 Letter to EP President about his wish to “deepen dialogue with Europe’s Christian churches”
2009 EHF Memorandum and briefing for European elections
2009 Letter to EP President about discriminatory resolution
On 10 March 2009 we wrote to the President of the European Parliament protesting at a resolution that mentioned the need for dialogue with the churches but ignored the non-religious communities. We copied this to numbers of MEPs. No reply was received.
2009 EHF speaks on Secularism and the European Union at the European Parliament
On 3 March 2009 David Pollock, EHF President, was a platform speaker at a conference at the European Parliament organised by Veronique de Keyser MEP on the subject of Secularism and the European Union.
2007 Letter to EP President protesting at his invitation to the Pope
In April 2007 we wrote to the then President of the Parliament, Hans Gert Pottering, protesting at his invitation to the Pope to address the Parliament. (In July 2007 the Pope himself decided to decline the invitation.)