Sunday, June 19, 2011

EU News

Last year in March, I wrote about the conference I attended at the EU Parliament on the work-free Sunday movement, which was supposed to be the kick-off meeting to relaunch the debate on Sunday protection in Europe. This initiative was spear-headed by a few MEP's, and some very influential people were there, like László Andor, the Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs. It was his Directorate-General, which launched a consultation within the Commission about the review of the so-called Working Time Directive at the end of last year. These interservice-consultations always have to take place before any new legislation can be voted on the level of the Parliament and the Council. It means that a working paper is sent to all other relevant Directorate-Generals within the Commission and they have to give their input. It was also sent to our service, and although our unit wasn't supposed to prepare the reply, it accidently found its way into our functional mailbox. That's how I became aware of it. I couldn't write about it here at that time, as it was still a working paper. But in the meantime, I found out that the "Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee, and Committee of the Regions reviewing the Working Time Directive)" has been published. As I had expected, nothing has changed in the assessment of the Sunday issue. Point 5.1 says:

"The question of whether weekly rest should normally be taken on a Sunday, rather than on another day of the week, is very complex, raising issues about the effect on health and safety and work-life balance, as well as issues of a social, religious and educational nature. However, it does not necessarily follow that this is an appropriate matter for legislation at EU level: in view of the other issues which arise, the principle of subsidiarity appears applicable."

Very interesting. For those who don't know, subsidiarity is an organizing principle that matters ought to be handled at the lowest possible level of an institutional hierarchy. So the EU shall only decide on matters which are better decided on EU level than at the level of the indiviual Member States, and other matters shall be left to each Member State to decide. Now, according to this statement, the question whether Sunday should become officially a work-free day, should be decided on the level of each indiviual country belonging to the EU. So it seems that we are still far away from a EU legislation on this issue. Of course things could still change, as the new Working Time Directive hasn't been finalised and voted on.

Tomorrow, there will be a conference of the "European Sunday Alliance" here in Brussels. They are going to discuss the review of the Working Time Directive, and similar to the conference in March, they have invited some experts and stakeholders who will give their input on the advantages of a work-free Sunday. I only found out about this event today, otherwise I would have considered attending this conference. I have no idea what impact this initiative could still have on the ongoing legislative process in this matter, but I have the feeling that at this point, we are still far away from an EU Sunday legislation. But why are things not going forward?

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to watch on 3ABN part of the ASI Europe convention, which was held in Konstanz, Germany. Ted Wilson was invited as a speaker and I really appreciated what he shared. One thing he said struck me: "We call ourselves Adventists, but why are we still here?" Good question. The blunt answer is that we haven't done our homework yet. There is still so much to do for Jesus to come back. Lately, I have been asking the Lord more earnestly that He may show me how He wants to use me in His work. I pray that He may reveal Himself to you and me in this matter, so that we can soon accomplish the work which God has committed to us.

I hope I can give an update on this issue in due time.

"We as a people have not accomplished the work which God has committed to us. We are not ready for the issue to which the enforcement of the Sunday law will bring us. It is our duty, as we see the signs of approaching peril, to arouse to action. Let none sit in calm expectation of the evil, comforting themselves with the belief that this work must go on because prophecy has foretold it, and that the Lord will shelter his people. We are not doing the will of God if we sit in quietude, doing nothing to preserve liberty of conscience. Fervent, effectual prayer should be ascending to heaven that this calamity may be deferred until we can accomplish the work which has so long been neglected. Let there be more earnest prayer; and then let us work in harmony with our prayers."--Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 713, 714.


Anonymous said...

I appreciate the update, Miss Daniela. I keep expecting the American National Sunday Law to appear anytime soon. Blessings. Frank

leon said...

Thanks Daniela,
Nice to read and know.
Leon. (church)