European Union External Action

Press release: EU and Holy See Celebrate 50 years of Diplomatic Relations

Rome, 10/11/2020 - 17:34, UNIQUE ID: 201110_37
Press releases

In a small ceremony at the Vatican today, the Secretary of State, His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin, presented a commemorative stamp to H. E. Alexandra Valkenburg and H.E. Michael Hans Werner Koch. The stamp commemorates the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the European Union. Ambassador Valkenburg is Head of the EU Delegation to the Holy See. Ambassador Koch is representing Germany, the country holding currently the European Union Presidency in the Council.

Fifty years ago, on 10 November 1970, H.E. Monsignor Igino Eugenio Cardinale, the Apostolic Nuncio and Head of the Mission of the Holy See in Brussels, presented his credentials to the President of the European Economic Communities, Franco Maria Malfatti. Since that day, cooperation between the European Union and the Holy See has intensified on topics stretching from peace and human rights to environmental protection. A particular highlight was Pope Francis’ address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 25 November 2014.

Ambassador Alexandra Valkenburg conveyed the gratitude of the European Union. She called the commemorative stamp a token of the Union’s valued partnership with the Holy See. Both sides, she underlined, share concerns in many fields: peace, multilateralism, human rights, migration, poverty reduction, and others. In this context, Ambassador Valkenburg highlighted the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.

Ambassador Michael Koch thanked the Holy See for the excellent relations with the EU and its 27 Member States. He particularly welcomed that Pope Francis, in a letter to Cardinal Parolin recently made public, highlighted the path of fraternity that inspired and guided the founders of modern Europe, beginning with Robert Schuman. The vision for Europe which the Pope outlined in that letter will serve as an important inspiration in discussions about the future of the continent.

The COVID-19 situation permitting, the EU Delegation and EU Member States are planning more initiatives highlighting fifty years of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the European Union, over the next 12 months.

Pictures of the event ©Vatican Media.