Saturday

22nd Feb 2020

Barroso to inaugurate European synagogue

  • Jose Manuel Barroso's name will appear on a plaque inside the building (Photo: EUobserver)

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso will in a ceremony on Wednesday (4 June) help dedicate a Brussels temple as the "Great Synagogue of Europe," amid prayers for EU leaders to act justly.

The synagogue - an 1878 Romanesque-style building in Brussels' central Rue de la Regence - is to become a symbolic focal point for Judaism in Europe, a little like St Peter's Basilica in Rome is for Roman Catholics.

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The commission head will sign a document of dedication along with two chief rabbis and two witnesses, with Mr Barroso's name also appearing on a plaque inside the building.

The event will involve the reading of a specially-drafted "Prayer for Europe" as well as singing by the European Choir - a Brussels-based team of 100 singers from 20 EU states set up in 1958 to act as "musical ambassadors for Europe."

The prayer will ask for happiness for European citizens and for the continent's leaders to act with justice and equanimity to create a "spiritual union," Polish daily Rzeczpospolita reports.

"The EU appears to be convinced that the European construction must not only be based on economic interests but also on religious and spiritual well-being," chief rabbi Albert Guigui of the Rue de la Regence church told the European Jewish Press.

Palestinian protest

In a separate development, Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad has written to the EU institutions, urging the bloc not to deepen relations with Israel at a meeting later this month.

The letter, dated May 27 and made public by Italian leftist MEP Luisa Morgantini, denounces Israel's "flagrant disregard" for Palestinian rights by building fresh settlements in disputed territory, Reuters reports.

EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg on 16 June will discuss upgrading the EU's current association pact on trade and security co-operation with the EU neighbour.

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