European Christian Political Movement: For
Christian Politics in Europe
Political Youth Network]
A brief introduction of the main ideas and
history of the European Christian Political
Keywords: ECPM, history, Christian democracy,
In the beginning of the years 2000 smaller Christian democratic parties in Europe were feeling not to be really represented in Europe. They felt not comfortable in the existing parties as they did not see most of their basic values there. Therefore representatives of political parties from more than 15 countries decided in November 2002 to examine new chances for Christian politics in Europe on the conference „For a Christian Europe” at Lakitelek, Hungary. In 2003 the parties adopted a basic political vision in the Lakitelek declaration „Values for Europe”. Finally in January 2005 in Tallinn the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM) was founded and in September 2005 ECPM was officially registered with statutes as an association under Dutch law. The ECPM started with parties and organizations regardless their denominative background. Parties residing in and outside the EU participated in these first years and made it possible to create a movement that is solidly continuing.
At the moment a growing number of parties and movements is participating. The goal of the ECPM is to build on Christian-democracy in Europe from an explicit Christian-social point of view. The movement has a broad scope on issues and themes. The Movement offers an informal atmosphere. Parties, think tanks and individual politicians can participate in a broad range of ECPM activities such as conferences, seminars and trainings, and be involved in the further development of the ECPM.
The ECPM aims to reflect and work on Christian-democratic politics in Europe from an explicit Christian-social view. It focuses on the human being in its relationship to God, other people and the creation. We see this relational thinking as the heart of Christian-democracy.The basic principles of the ECPM were summed up in the Declaration of Lakitelek II ‘Values for Europe’. In September 2007 the ECPM adopted a new basic programme ‘A Christian-social contribution to Europe’, which elaborates on our basic principles1. The ECPM aims to spread these Christian Democratic ideas throughout Europe together with its social expression and to mobilize politicians and parties in Europe around Christian values. The source of these Christian values are the Bible and the Christian tradition. These sources are in itself not a political program. These sources call us to serve the people of Europe and inspire us to work on a just government that pursuit’s justice, freedom, peace and a well-ordered society.
In the basic programme of the ECPM it is explained as follows: „As Christian-democrats we do not imagine that we possess simple solutions to the problems of Europe. We do however firmly believe that Christianity can make an important contribution to the well-being of our society. For this reason, we commit ourselves to the following eight guiding principles which highlight some basic themes of Christian-social policy: Justice, Respect for life, Priority for the family, Reconciliation, Active Compassion, Wise Stewardship, Economy and Empowerment”2. Besides this ECPM has also made a European Political Programme in which is stated how we see our Christian democratic voice in Europe, based on the same principles as mentioned.
In the near future ECPM wants to establish new relations and strengthen its existing relations with political parties, think tanks and family organizations. ECPM membership is not for political parties and organizations only, but also for individual politicians. The ECPM is a platform for the exchange of ideas and experiences and aims to strengthen the Christian Democratic thought and politics in Europe.
In 2010 the ECPM has been granted an official status as European Political Party at the European level by the European Parliament. Within the European Parliament, the ECPM works together with different European Parliamentarians and politicians, though it is not exclusively linked to one of the European political groups.With the official status and the funding from Brussels the ECPM aims to become more visible in European politics and to become active in the European political debates.
Besides political parties there are also youth organizations participating in the ECPM network, gathering in the European Christian Political Youth Network (ECPYN)3. They are based on the same principles, but focus mainly on younger Christian political leaders, working together in working groups, scholar programs and conferences. In 2010 ECPM also established an independent Research Center, the European Christian Political Foundation (ECPF).4 The ECPF supports and underpins the ECPM especially in terms of political content by European co-operation and the introduction of analysis, ideas and policy options. Together we work on a Christian voice in Europe. With our distinctive Christian-democratic profile, we are certain that we can offer constructive new ideas for the future of Europe.
MINNEMA – ECPYN