Russian Church hails van Rompuy as first president of European Council

Acting representative of the Moscow Patriarchate at the European Union Archpriest Antony Ilyin "extremely positively" regards election of Belgian Prime Minister Herman van Rompuy as the first President of the European Council.

In the article published by the Interfax-Religion the priest has reminded van Rompuy's words, which he has told five years ago about the Turkey introduction into the EU: "Universal European values means fundamental values of Christianity."

"Will the first President of the European Council, who is a practicing Catholic and an exemplary family man, find the courage to repeat these words in his new capacity? If he does, it will be a missing link from the preamble to the failed European Constitution," he said.

"If van Rompuy will incur ambitions to realize the given position as the President of united Europe personally feeling that the European identity is inseparable from its Christian roots, it will be possible to tell his election became a real chance for the European Union," the representative of Russian Church said.

According to the priest, in this case Europe will have a chance "to declare itself not only as a regional economic power but as a real pole of West European Christian civilization."

Father Antony doesn't doubt that "it'll be possible for Russia to speak with such EU not only about quotas, tariffs and visas but also about values", and values "not abstractly liberal when we are represented as eternal pupils" but Christian ones, about civilization values, "where Russia and the countries of Russian world are the east pole."

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and European Peoples Party President Wilfred Martens initiated an unprecedented project of EU-Russia non-governmental dialogue involving the European Peoples Party, the Russian Orthodox Church and the United Russia party, the priest said.

Brussels, November 24, 2009 Interfax