Elder Massimo De Feo, president of the Europe Area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently joined other European senior representatives of various religions in sharing views in the ongoing Conference on the Future of Europe.
The General Authority Seventy participated on Friday, Jan. 14, with other area religious leaders — representing Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Jewish faiths as well as humanist and nonconfessional organizations — as invited by Commissioner Margaritis Schinas, a vice president of the European Commission. Another commission vice president, Dubravka Šuica, also participated.
The European Commission is the legislative branch of the European Union, responsible for proposing and enforcing legislation and implementing policies.
The meeting was conducted online, according to COVID-19 precautions.
The Conference on the Future of Europe is an initiative for European citizens to discuss Europe’s challenges and priorities. Meetings are conducted to speak on ideas and proposals on conference themes, including climate change, health, economy, employment, digital transformation, the rule of law, security, the E.U.’s foreign policy and migration.
Participants offered opening statements and then discussed among themselves views on the conference themes. The conference is expected to reach conclusions later this spring.
Elder De Feo, speaking on climate, said: “For people of faith, protecting and preserving our planet is not just a matter of survival. It is our home, and we consider it a creation and a gift of God.”
On the issue of migration, he cautioned representatives of E.U. institutions to not quickly dismiss any voices in what has been termed as the “most polarizing of all topics.”
“As a church,” he said, “we will continue to help and support refugees and migrants by partnering with governmental and nongovernmental organizations as we have been doing for almost 40 years, since we launched our global humanitarian efforts.”
Elder De Feo reminded the European Commission that “true solidarity is needed between Member States to avoid discrimination and respect the human dignity of every migrant,” and he concluded by renewing the Church’s commitment to the well-being of all God’s children in Europe and internationally.