In the aftermath of 1991, the commemoration of 100 years of Christian workers’ organisations, leading members of the Christian Social Movements in Belgium and The Netherlands independently developed the urge to europeanise the movement. Once they learned from these simultaneous inivitatives, they agreed to cooperate and started the ecumenical intiative of the European Social Weeks. Together with parties from France and Germany, the first European Social Week was held in 1997, in Brussels.
Since the European Community of Coal and Steel, where Europe forged peace and cooperation out of the materials that had been used for two devastating wars, we have come a long way. Standing within the Christian-social tradition, we feel a special urge for the future of Europe. After the success, we are now confronted with bad times. The ties that connect us in Europe are seriously being put to the test. We believe we cannot go back behind our national borders and focus first and formost on our national interests. We have to move on on the road of peace, cooperation, and solidarity. That road is not necessarily the one that leads us straight from where we are to the vanishing point on the horizon. There are different roads, so which road to follow? Hope for a better future has always guided people to where they want to arrive, and so hope for a better Europe is our guide.