Raya Kalenova 88.
(photo credit: )
The European Jewish Congress (EJC), the umbrella organization for Jewish communities in Europe, is set to open a permanent Brussels office, the European Jewish Press reported on Monday.
The office will principally be tasked with monitoring EU institutions - the European Commission, the European Parliament and the EU Council - on issues concerning European Jewish communities such as the Iranian nuclear threat and EU-Israel ties.
Wednesday's official opening ceremony will be attended by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Vice-President Jacques Barrot, European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek, Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau and several European Parliament members.
"While the EJC is based in Paris since its creation in 1986, we found that there was a vacuum on European level and that there was a need for a powerful lobby organization to work closely with the EU institutions. This is easier when you are in Brussels," Raya Kalenova, who heads the new office, told the EJP. "We have always seen the growing importance of the EU for the European Jewry and we are committed to the relationships that we have established over the years with the EU institutions."
"We will seek to maintain and expand already existing bonds with the EU," Kalenova stressed. "Thanks to the Lisbon Treaty, which will reform the EU institutions, the EU is about to become an even more efficient and influential global player."
Kalenova said battling European anti-Semitism would be "our very raison d'Ãªtre."
"We propose to fight anti-Semitism by promoting tolerance, reconciliation and interfaith dialogue," she said.
According to the EJP, the Brussels office will work together with the European Fundamental Rights Agency in order to create more awareness of anti-Semitism at the EU institutions.
"In this framework, we will try to bring together our efforts with other lobbying organizations," Kalenova added.
On January 27, 2010, the EJC, together with the Polish government, will commemorate the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camps, the EJP reported.
"We have invited many members of the European Parliament to join us in this journey to our painful history," said Kalenova.