|01-06-2007 - Traces, n. 6
A Continent Suffering from “Christophobia”
Interview with Dr. J. H. H. Weiler, Professor of International Law and European Union Law at New York University School of Law
edited by Marta Cartabia
Professor Weiler, in 2003, you published a book entitled, Un’Europa Cristiana [“A Christian Europe”], in which you stated that when the debate over the European identity first developed, Europe was in denial, it was denying its Judeo-Christian origins. Now, some years later, is Europe still suffering from “Christophobia,” as you called it in your book?
The bottom line is that nothing much has changed. But there are some interesting signs that a gap has opened up between the political class and the general public, for example in the reaction to the Pope’s speech at Regensburg.
Today, there are some important new factors in the political situation. Germany and France have new political leaders, and the situation will soon change in Britain as well. Do you feel that the debate over the Constitutional Treaty could be reopened? Do you feel there is now a greater willingness to insert a reference to the Judeo-Christian roots of Europe?
In recent years, the European institutions have repeatedly shown a tendency to clash with the Catholic Church. I’m thinking here of the EU’s critical intervention in the draft of an agreement between Slovakia and the Catholic Church on abortion and conscientious objectors, and more recently the European Parliament’s resolutions on homophobia. Don’t you feel these are cases of undue interference?
There’s a troubling fact in the process of European integration: the progressive and rapid decline in the number of citizens who vote in elections to the European Parliament. In the most recent elections, only 45% of European voters went to the polls. The figure becomes even more significant if we think that over the years Parliament has accumulated ever greater powers and is now a true “co-legislator,” together with the Council of Ministers.