Pope Says Values, Not Geography, Unite Europe

Advocates Inclusion of Balkans in EU

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 19, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI believes that European integration cannot only be geographic or economic, but must above all be based on the fundamental values of the dignity of the human being.

The Pope also advocated the integration of the Balkan countries, specifically of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, when receiving the letters of credence today of the nation’s ambassador, Bartolomej Kajtazi.

“Your traditions and your culture find a natural resonance there and belong to the spirit that permeates this continent,” he emphasized in his address delivered in English.

“Europe needs the Balkan nations, and they need Europe! Entry into the European Community should not, however, be understood merely as a panacea to overcome economic adversity,” the Holy Father said.

“In the process of the European Union’s expansion it is of capital importance to remember that it will lack substance if it is reduced to merely geographic and economic dimensions,” the Pope said. “Rather, the union must consist above all in an agreement about values which find expression in its law and in its life.

“This rightly demands of each state a proper ordering of society that creatively reclaims the soul of Europe, acquired through the decisive contribution of Christianity, affirming the transcendent dignity of the human person and the values of reason, freedom, democracy and the constitutional state.”

The Pope encouraged Macedonia’s representative to promote the objective of “ensuring social coherence and stability.”

To achieve this, it is necessary to protect “human rights, including those of ethnic and religious minorities, and to foster the practice of responsible and transparent governance, … the maintenance of law and order by an impartial judiciary system and an honorable police force.”

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