General Meeting in Brussels
A delegation of the Hospitaller Order of St John of God and the Sisters Hospitallers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus visited the Hospitality Europe office and the European institutions in Brussels on 25–27 April.
In Brussels, all the members of the “Hospitality Europe aisbl” Association were present accompanied by Brother Moisés Martín Boscá, Brother André Sène and Mr Klaus Mutschlechner.
25 April was devoted to visiting the European Union institutions and in particular the European Parliament, where the visitors were able to sit in on a plenary session (during a high-level conference on the digitalisation of Europe) and see the Parliamentary committee rooms. Dr Carlo Galasso was able to illustrate the legislative and decision-making functions of the European Parliament and the procedure for reducing the numbers of parliamentary seats next year following Brexit, and redistributing them between the remaining members. The delegation then went to the “Schuman Area” in the European quarter of Brussels, where the European Commission, the EU Council of Ministers and the European Council are headquartered.
On the 26th, the Hospitality Europe Association held its General Meeting in the European office in rue Guimard. Brother Rudolf Knopp chaired the meeting which adopted a number of important decisions including amendments to the statutes of the Association (to bring the membership criteria into line with those of the Order’s European organs) and evaluated a protocol to guide the Provinces when submitting new project proposals to the EU. This protocol will be presented and discussed at the forthcoming meetings between the Europe Commission and the Provincial Reference Persons.
In the afternoon, the delegation was received at the headquarters of COMECE (Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community) by the Secretary-General, the Dominican Fr Olivier Poquillon OP, to be briefed on the purposes and activities of COMECE in its dealings with the EU institutions as part of the dialogue between the European Union and the Churches, faith communities and religious associations provided by article 17 of the Lisbon Treaty.
Before leaving, the morning of Friday 27 April was dedicated to a short visit to the historic centre of Brussels.
It had been a very positive and enriching experience for all the participants and provided an important opportunity to reflect on the work that had been done over the years by the Hospitality Europe office and the possibility to make it even more visible and effective.