On February 26th, the International Territorial Vice President (ITVP) for Europe I, László Könczöl (Germany) met virtually with Zone Coordinators [Bill Lawson (Group 1, England), Hans-Ueli Gubser (Group 2, Switzerland), and Juan Manuel B. Gómez (Group 3, Spain)], and Formation/Training Territorial Delegates [Maria Lidón L. Peris (Spain)] and Special Projects Territorial Delegates [Markus Jungo (Switzerland)] attending the first regional Coordination Meeting. The Youth Coordinator, Orlando do Nascimento Geraldes Mendes, couldn’t attend due to work commitments.
Following an Opening Prayer, the three Zone Coordinators (ZCs) reported on the current situation in their respective Groups during the pandemic. The Conferences keep on supporting the needy in all countries with limited physical contact. The second issue addressed in the meeting was the agenda items to be discussed at the special ITVPs meeting on April 25th, 2021, including the limits of actions to be followed by ITVPs and ZCs with the National Councils, the essence of ITVP’s and ZC’s role(s) and their potential, and the increased cooperation between countries and regions with the CGI.
Since the Youth Coordinator could not attend the meeting, the topic “Young Vincentians in Europe I countries” was not addressed. Follow-up reports on the SSVP Plus Project were one of the major issues covered. Furthermore, there are three Europe I countries with new Conferences: Albania (founded 2017 with the support of SSVP Italy), Cyprus (2019, at the initiative of Ella Bitar, ITVP Middle East), and the Vatican (2019). Yet, there are two countries whose establishment has been delayed due to the pandemic: Greece (with the support from the Netherlands) and Sweden (assisted by England & Wales). Moreover, Northern European countries (Norway and Finland), European microstates such as Andorra (Spain’s contact) and Liechtenstein (Switzerland’s contact) are liaising with the Church.
After successful Europe I Regional Conferences held in Durham (England 2018), in Lyon (France 2015), and in Innsbruck (Austria 2013), another Europe I Conference is to be established. In order to avoid possible interference with the CGI’s General Assembly in 2022, the Conference meeting should, due to Covid-19 pandemic, be held virtually in autumn 2021 (probably on a weekend in mid-November). Furthermore, meetings are to be held for the three language groups (1 English, 2 German, 3 French/Spanish) by the respective Coordinators.
The meeting concluded with a Closing Prayer led by Group 1 Coordinator, Bill Lawson.