Hume chairs ethics summit on Europe
by Angus Macdonald
BUSINESS leaders, heads of • ,government and top academics from all over Europe gathered in London this week at the invitation of Cardinal Basil Hume to explore . ways in which to promote morality , and business ethics in the newly'liberated countries of the Eastern . Europe.
Speakers at the one-day conference included Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers, and Jacques Artali, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as well as top European business executives and representatives of Eastern European governments.
Cardinal Hume. who chaired the conference. took the opportunity to stress the need for both governments and business leaders to consider the ethical dimensions of their decisions.
In the last analysis, the real world is not composed solely of market forces or national interests, but of people. And people matter," the cardinal told a mixed audience of businessmen, politicians, civil servants, Church leaders and academics.
The cardinal said the Church's social teaching could not necessarily provide ready-made solutions for the problems of postcommunist society. "I have not come to this conference with answers. But what I do bring are a number of questions which concern me greatly, and a conviction that the Churches and religious values have an indispensable role to play," he said.
Although a personal initiative of Cardinal Hume, whose interest in Europe stemmed from his ten years as President of the Council of European Bishops' Conferences, the gathering was organised in conjunction with insurance brokers, the Sedgwick Group, and top City accountants KPMG Peat Marwick, Jacques Attali, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, stressed that it was up to the countries of the West to help their Eastern neighbours. "We in the West should be drawing moral inspiration from the tremendous victory which the people of Europe have won over totalitarianism, not worrying whether they will compete with our products," he said. "It is now up to us to make the next move in their direction."
Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers, a devout Catholic who attended a Jesuit College, stressed the need to continue to respect human dignity, life and the environment as the shattered economies of Eastern Europe smuggled to rebuild.
Mr Lubbers was the architect of the Maastricht Treaty on Political Union which is currently causing schism in the British political establishment.
All money raised from the conference at E300 per ticket to business participants will go to European development agencies.