A Christian Voice in Europe, an ECPM-SGP campaign event

Friday, May 17, 2024

A Christian Voice in Europe, an ECPM-SGP campaign event

An ECPM campaign event in collaboration with SGP took place in Gouda, the Netherlands, on Friday, May 17th. The event focused on the upcoming June 6th elections and the importance of Christian politics and politicians in the European Parliament. Keynote speakers included ECPM General Director Maarten van de Fliert and Geert Kraaijenveld from Sallux, ECPM’s think tank. Other notable speakers were MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen, Kees van der Staaij (former MP and leader of the SGP), Harold Hooglander (SGP candidate for the European Parliament), and Nathanaël Middelkoop (SGP alderman).

Maarten van de Fliert began by explaining the composition of the European Parliament and the roles of European political parties and groups. He clarified the common misconception that political parties and political factions are the same and explained the distinctions. ECPM’s unique position in the political landscape stems from its lack of affiliation with a single political group. ECPM MEPs can be found among Christian Democrats, Conservatives, and the non-affiliated, united by their commitment to Christian politics.

Van de Fliert emphasized that the European Christian Political Movement is the only European political party explicitly promoting Christian values. ECPM collaborates with its member parties at the national level and with its MEPs in the European Parliament. These member parties, though diverse in their interpretation and application of Christian ethics, share a common vision that human beings are created by God and in His image, which underpins ECPM’s approach to politics and supports fundamental human rights, such as the right to life and the protection of the vulnerable. Van de Fliert stressed the importance of the engagement of Christians in politics.

The discussion also touched on the war in Ukraine and the European response. An attendee expressed concerns about Europe’s safety, citing perceived inaction by the European Union and uncertainties surrounding NATO, particularly in light of a potential Donald Trump presidency. Van de Fliert acknowledged these concerns and noted that ECPM and its member parties are actively discussing these issues at both national and European levels, with significant contributions from Sallux. ECPM’s political program supports Ukraine's territorial integrity, condemns Russia’s invasion, and advocates for military cooperation within NATO.

Geert Kraaijenveld addressed the EU’s decision-making procedures, particularly during wartime. He pointed out that unanimous decision-making can impede swift action due to the difficulty of achieving consensus. Kraaijenveld explained that Sallux is developing ideas for procedural reforms. He also highlighted internal security threats, such as Hungary’s increasing openness to China, which could lead to indirect Chinese influence on EU decisions. He stressed the need for the EU to safeguard its security and prevent foreign interference.

Former MP and SGP party leader Kees van der Staaij noted that European countries are increasingly investing in national security and military, indicating a trend towards convergence and closer cooperation. Harold Hooglander, SGP candidate for the European Parliament, advocated for maintaining NATO as the primary defense mechanism and cautioned against moving from unanimous decision-making to majority rule in defense matters, as it could undermine national sovereignty.

SGP Alderman Nathanael Middelkoop underscored the importance of the European Union to national citizens. As an alderman in Urk, a Dutch city reliant on fisheries and agriculture, he provided examples of how EU laws and regulations impact his city. Middelkoop explained the significance of the EU's E-numbering system for the food and automotive industries in his hometown. He conveyed that the EU significantly influences everyday life, making it crucial to vote in the European Parliament elections on June 6th.

MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen concluded the event with a summary of his work in the European Parliament during the last term and his role with ECPM. Attendees gained insight into parliamentary procedures and sessions in Brussels and Strasbourg. Ruissen showcased some of his speeches in the parliament and emphasized the importance of voting, stating, "Every vote counts, especially in the elections for the European Parliament."

Head Office

Bergstraat 33
3811 NG Amersfoort
The Netherlands
+31 33 304 0011

Brussels Office

Belliardstraat 205
1040 Brussels
+32 22 301 300

Receive the monthly ECPM newsletter.

* indicates required
From 2010 on, the activities of the ECPM are financially supported by the European Parliament. The liability for any communication or publication by the ECPM, in any form and any medium, rests with the ECPM. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.