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Last week we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the of the EEA office in Brussels. In looking back, we realised how instrumental the presence of the EEA in Brussels has been over the past years. When the EEA started its office on the 9th of January 1994 many EU officials thought that Christianity was something which was on its way out and would keep losing influence. Therefore, Freedom of Religion or Belief was not on their agenda.
Among many things I just want to point out two areas of influence that show how much impact a small operation can have.
1. In cooperation with Dr Os Guiness in 2012 the EEA launched the Global Charter of Conscience: A Global Covenant concerning Faiths and Freedom of Conscience. Herewith reaffirming and supporting Article 18 of the Declaration of Human Rights. This declaration to this day has a great impact in all kinds of official circles and in civil society.
2. The EEA is a founding member of EPRID (European Platform against Religious Intolerance and Discrimination). Some years ago, EEA together with other partners, played a key role in the creation of the EU Guidelines on Freedom of Religion or Belief. These guidelines help European Missions abroad to identify and respond to violations of religious freedom. They were accepted by the EU in 2013. On several occasions the EEA has been able to make use of these guidelines.
One of our goals is to get the EU to apply the same regulation within the EU as well. It is often assumed that all is well in this regard, but this is not the case.
Being faithful in what God has entrusted to us, diligently doing our work together and confidentially taking our stand is producing astounding results.
The vision of the EEA is: We want to see movements of Jesus followers glorifying God and serving people across Europe. We are aiming high considering our size and yet we have a lot of opportunities and openings before us which can make this happen. We urge each National EA, each Affiliate member and each Network do its part and add its portion. Do not underestimate your contribution! God can and will work great things through you.
Therefore, I want to encourage you to expect much from God in 2019 and trust him that through our “small contributions” we will have a big impact in Europe.
General Secretary EEA