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What Happened to the Idea of a Secular Europe? -An Emerging 'Law and Religion Policy' within the European Union-

Svensson, Emma (2009)
Department of Law
Abstract
The European Union is a secular entity. In the debate surrounding the Constitutional Treaty, strong voices were raised demanding a reference to the 'Christian heritage' of Europe. This never happened, instead, the preamble of the Lisbon Treaty accentuates that the Union is ''[d]rawing inspiration from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe.'' The latter opens up for a multi-religious understanding of the history of Europe, and, one would presume, also its future. Community law is constantly developed, renewed, and expanded. It is heading towards something much more than an economically motivated Union, instead a 'Soul for Europe', an identity, is being built. A Soul founded in common values and understandings. This... (More)
The European Union is a secular entity. In the debate surrounding the Constitutional Treaty, strong voices were raised demanding a reference to the 'Christian heritage' of Europe. This never happened, instead, the preamble of the Lisbon Treaty accentuates that the Union is ''[d]rawing inspiration from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe.'' The latter opens up for a multi-religious understanding of the history of Europe, and, one would presume, also its future. Community law is constantly developed, renewed, and expanded. It is heading towards something much more than an economically motivated Union, instead a 'Soul for Europe', an identity, is being built. A Soul founded in common values and understandings. This thesis aims at finding the role of religion, from a legal perspective, in the creation of a truly European society. Community law affects, in several ways, how the Member States organize religion. Churches and other religious organizations, in addition to religious individuals, fall within the scope of the freedom of movement. However, the Court of Justice has given the Member States a large margin of discretion when the latter relies on 'public policy' in order to limit the free movement for religious organizations and individuals. The principle of equal treatment serves as a foundation of how secondary law treats religion, in everything from Union policies in developing countries, to public administration. Above all, the principle can be seen in the emphasis of non-discrimination in employment policies. Two trends can be discerned in Community law regarding religion&semic first of all, as mentioned, a strong principle of equal treatment. Second, much is still left upon the Member States to decide, since the omissions and derogations are plentiful. When European law tries to find new paths, and the Court of Justice develops European integration, the constitutional principles of the Member States often come to the forefront. In this thesis, it is stressed that these principles differ greatly, concerning State-Church relations. All European Constitutions are secular, in the sense that the State, in it self, is not religious. But the enforcement of this ideal ranges from a strict laical principle, where religion only belongs to the private sphere, to so called State churches. Is it then possible to find a common denominator, upon which a 'European Union' system of law and religion can be built? Furthermore, what is the role of normative values in European integration, and how can Europe find ways to accommodate groups of religious minorities, in an effective and open manner? Within the Union, a tendency towards a greater understanding of the role of religion in building a society can be distinguished. Declaration No 11 and the Dialogue with Churches and religious organizations, show that religion is, indeed, welcomed into the European public sphere. (Less)
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author
Svensson, Emma
supervisor
organization
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
EG-rätt
language
English
id
1562308
date added to LUP
2010-03-08 15:55:30
date last changed
2010-03-08 15:55:30
@misc{1562308,
  abstract     = {The European Union is a secular entity. In the debate surrounding the Constitutional Treaty, strong voices were raised demanding a reference to the 'Christian heritage' of Europe. This never happened, instead, the preamble of the Lisbon Treaty accentuates that the Union is ''[d]rawing inspiration from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe.'' The latter opens up for a multi-religious understanding of the history of Europe, and, one would presume, also its future. Community law is constantly developed, renewed, and expanded. It is heading towards something much more than an economically motivated Union, instead a 'Soul for Europe', an identity, is being built. A Soul founded in common values and understandings. This thesis aims at finding the role of religion, from a legal perspective, in the creation of a truly European society. Community law affects, in several ways, how the Member States organize religion. Churches and other religious organizations, in addition to religious individuals, fall within the scope of the freedom of movement. However, the Court of Justice has given the Member States a large margin of discretion when the latter relies on 'public policy' in order to limit the free movement for religious organizations and individuals. The principle of equal treatment serves as a foundation of how secondary law treats religion, in everything from Union policies in developing countries, to public administration. Above all, the principle can be seen in the emphasis of non-discrimination in employment policies. Two trends can be discerned in Community law regarding religion&semic first of all, as mentioned, a strong principle of equal treatment. Second, much is still left upon the Member States to decide, since the omissions and derogations are plentiful. When European law tries to find new paths, and the Court of Justice develops European integration, the constitutional principles of the Member States often come to the forefront. In this thesis, it is stressed that these principles differ greatly, concerning State-Church relations. All European Constitutions are secular, in the sense that the State, in it self, is not religious. But the enforcement of this ideal ranges from a strict laical principle, where religion only belongs to the private sphere, to so called State churches. Is it then possible to find a common denominator, upon which a 'European Union' system of law and religion can be built? Furthermore, what is the role of normative values in European integration, and how can Europe find ways to accommodate groups of religious minorities, in an effective and open manner? Within the Union, a tendency towards a greater understanding of the role of religion in building a society can be distinguished. Declaration No 11 and the Dialogue with Churches and religious organizations, show that religion is, indeed, welcomed into the European public sphere.},
  author       = {Svensson, Emma},
  keyword      = {EG-rätt},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {What Happened to the Idea of a Secular Europe? -An Emerging 'Law and Religion Policy' within the European Union-},
  year         = {2009},
}