COMECE is the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community.
It is made up of Bishops delegated by the 26 Catholic Bishops' Conferences (1) of the European Union and it has a permanent Secretariat in Brussels.
COMECE was launched on 3 March 1980 and was preceded by the European Catholic Pastoral Information Service (SIPECA, 1976-1980). Discussions during the 1970s about creating an instrument of liaison between the Bishops' Conferences and the European Community led to the decision, on the eve of the first direct elections to the European Parliament in 1979, to establish COMECE.
The objectives of COMECE are:
- To monitor and analyse the political process of the European Union
- To inform and raise awareness within the Church of the development of EU policy and legislation
- To maintain a regular Dialogue with the EU Institutions (European Commission, Council of Ministers and European Parliament) through annual Summit meetings of religious leaders, Dialogue Seminars, various Conferences and by taking part in Consultations launched by the European Commission.
- To promote reflection, based on the Church's social teaching, on the challenges facing a united Europe
COMECE is funded by the Bishops' Conferences of the European Union. Its Secretariat is currently made of 11 advisors.
(1) There are 24 delegate bishops from the Bishops' Conferences in the EU: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, England & Wales, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Scandinavia, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the Archdiocese of Luxembourg. Croatia and Switzerland have associate status.