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On Tuesday the 25th of November 2014, Pope Francis addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg after receiving an invitation from the President of the European Parliament, Mr. Schulz. The European Liberal Youth (LYMEC) underlines that, regardless of the relevance of religion in personal lives, it should not influence policies.
LYMEC firmly believes that separation of politics and religion should be a continuous central goal for the European Union. The EU is not and should not develop into a Christian Union; history is full of examples of fatal results of mixing of politics and religion, which should not be repeated in 21st century.
LYMEC therefore finds it saddening that Mr. Schulz and many members of the parliament accepted and welcomed into the very heart of the European democracy a religious leader who in his speech referred to women’s fundamental right to abortion as a symptom of “a throwaway culture” and who represents an institution, which believes that a family can only be made up by a woman and a man.
We point out that everyone, including young people, has the right to make free and informed choices about their own bodies as well as their sexual and reproductive lives.
LYMEC also wishes to remind national and European politicians that the biggest religious minority in Europe, and probably the biggest religious group among young Europeans – atheists and agnostics – are constantly ignored by political institutions. Representatives of non-theist organisations like the European Humanist Federation are discriminated against by Commission, Council and Parliament, who only consult religious leaders, tweaking political debate towards a much more conservative set up than the real one among European citizens, and especially young people.
In conclusion, LYMEC wishes to point out that the European Union should be firm on it’s core values such as equality of its citizens, equal rights, liberty and tolerance of all individual beliefs, without favouring any specific religion.