Representatives of the main Christian churches in Europe have met Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Dublin in his capacity as holder of the EU Presidency.
They said those affected by the EU's economic and social crisis must be treated as human persons and not as commodities and units of production.
Mr Kenny stressed that both he and the EU appreciated the importance of a job to each individual's sense of worth.
He told the delegation that this fired their determination to address the issue of unemployment.
The meeting formed part of a structured dialogue between the EU and "churches and communities of convictions" that stretches back over two decades.
A spokesperson for the delegation described the 40-minuite encounter as very open and welcoming.
She said the group raised both the social and economic crisis in Europe and development aid policy.
On development aid, the Government insisted that, in the face of the ongoing crisis, it has remained determined to maintain levels of aid to developing countries in so far as possible.
The meeting was organised by the Irish Council of Churches on behalf of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE).