May 9, 2011, Bartok Hall, Budapest Congress Centre, 14.00-16.00
The inaugural State of Europe Forum took place on May 9 in Budapest, immediately preceding the HOPE•II Congress. Well over 100 participants crammed into the Bartok Hall to hear a range of speakers present perspectives on Europe today. The purpose of this forum was to recall Robert Schuman’s founding vision and values for the EU, to evaluate Europe today in the light of these values and to reflect on their contemporary relevance.
May 9 is Europe Day, the commemoration of the Schuman Declaration in 1950 and the birth of what has become the European Union.
Dr Thomas Schirrmacher, head of the religious liberty commission of the World Evangelical Alliance, chaired the forum, inviting Jeff Fountain as opening speaker to present the story of the birth of the movement leading to the EU. For many present, Jeff’s presentation broke new ground as he told about hoe Robert Schuman’s personal faith as a Christian guided and motivated him in proposing the formation of the European Coal and Steel Community, forerunner of the EU. Schuman’s vision for Europe was of a ‘community of peoples deeply rooted in Christian values,’ Jeff shared.
Author Dr Vishal Mangalwadi followed next briefly summarising the argument of the book he was launching that day called, ‘The Book That Made Your World’, about the profound influence of the Bible on western civilisation. Dr Sander Luitwieler, political consultant and researcher, read a paper he prepared for the European Christian Political Movement on revitalising the European values. Well-known author, Dr Os Guinness, addressed forum participants on the role of Christians in shaping the public square.
Dr Michael Schluter concluded the forum with concrete proposals for building relational foundations to Europe’s commercial and economic activities, to transform a capitalism based on the creed ‘greed is good’ from the inside out.
The forum was closed with drinks and refreshments, as participants prepared to attend the opening session of the HOPE•II Congress.
Videos of the talks will shortly be uploaded on www.schumancentre.eu