Brussels/Belgium 20 June 2011/APD – On 20 June 2011 the European Sunday Alliance was formed on the occasion of an expert conference on Sunday Protection at the seat of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in Brussels. The European Sunday Alliance is a network of existing national Sunday alliances, trade unions, civil society organizations and religious communities which promotes fair and balanced work conditions and the harmony of a balanced lifestyle comprising work, family and free time to strengthen social cohesion. The alliance further requests for Sundays to be work free in the new working guidelines (2003/88/EG) to be negotiated among EU member states.
The Jewish community as well as the Seventh-day Adventist church, an independent evangelical church does not rest on Sunday but recognises the Saturday (Sabbath) as the biblical day of rest. When approached by APD the European Jewish Congress (EJC) had no comments yet on its assessment of the inception of the European Sunday Alliance.
Pastor Raafat Kamal, director for Public Affairs and Religious Liberty of the North European Headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, in St. Albans, near London, commented on the launching of the European Sunday Alliance as follows: "We support the notion that people need a day of rest to achieve a life/work-balance to maintain the health and safety of workers. This is modelled by God in the biblical creation week where he worked for six days and rested on the seventh. At the same time, we want to be sure that those who don't have Sunday as a designated religious day of rest will be respected and tolerated. I hope that the partners in the European Sunday Alliance network who are trying to raise awareness of the value of synchronised free Sunday for European societies will appreciate the pluralistic dimensions of the European Union countries and the importance of respecting those with different religious beliefs and practices. I also trust that this advocacy campaign for protection of a work-free Sunday will not result in escalation of tension among different groups.”