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EU bishop: Elections show citizens concerned about Ukraine war

EU bishop: Elections show citizens concerned about Ukraine war

At his Angelus address June 9, 2024, Pope Francis asked people to pray for the people who are suffering in Myanmar and in Ukraine, giving a special shoutout to some Ukrainians who were in the crowd waving flags. / Credit: Vatican Media

Rome Newsroom, Jun 25, 2024 / 15:15 pm (CNA).

Citizens of the European Union want EU politicians to be more actively engaged in international issues such as the Ukraine war, an Italian bishop said after the EU elections earlier this month.

Bishop Mariano Crociata of Latina, president of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), told EWTN News that despite low voter turnout, EU citizens have an expectation that the elected members of the 27 countries’ joint parliament will respond to the problems they are living through, including fear of widespread war in Europe.

“The [election] result denotes … in the citizens of the countries that are part of the European Union, a phase of concern, perhaps one must even say fear,” he said. He explained that there is fear regarding “the presence of a war whose outcome is not foreseen or understood” and voters are looking for greater peace of mind.

EU citizens also have the expectation, he said, that elected officials will “do something, to have their voices heard” and “to have the political strength to become more and more an international subject, a subject that at least operates, is active a much as possible, in the confrontation between the big and medium powers that have responsibilities on so many things and particularly on the war in Ukraine.”

Crociata, who was elected president of COMECE for a five-year term in 2023, lamented the fact that only 51% of the 370 million people eligible to vote for the EU parliament and commission cast ballots during the June 7–8 elections.

“This is already a questioning, thought-provoking element, calling for reflection,” he said.

The bishop also spoke about the importance of pushing the new EU commission and parliament to reinforce diplomatic action toward peace between Ukraine and Russia while also engaging as much as possible in dialogue.

“Any kind of dialogue that may take place with Ukraine, with Russia, with the countries close to Russia, with the citizens who frequent our countries and are from Russia, should not be considered of little importance,” he said.

“Don’t think that they are collateral initiatives,” Crociata continued. “Though maybe not directly effective or directly aimed at diplomatic action, they are not of little importance because I would say creating a climate … within these countries can play its part, along with the institutional initiatives.”

“I think public opinion, shared sensitivity, communication, everything [can have an effect] … We have to do our part because everything can have an influence, which sooner or later will result in the big decisions that can really turn the tide and stop the war,” he said.

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