The Observatory of Religions and Secularism (ORELA), hosted by the Université libre de Bruxelles, is proud to launch its first report on religion and secularism in the European Union. In this new and unprecedented report, ORELA examines major concerns for the EU, such as secularization, the way EU institutions and European countries cope with diversity and pluralism, State and religion cooperation, religion at school, ethical issues and societal debates, freedom of religion, religion-based campaigns…
Freedom of religion, equality and non-discrimination based on religion or belief are fundamental rights firmly enshrined in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms adopted by the Council of Europe in 1950. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has progressively built a strong case-law in defence of those principles. The European Union has drawn heavily on the Council of Europe in its endeavour to promote fundamental rights, which it has done most notably in adopting binding anti-discrimination directives; control over the respect of such directives by legislation enacted by national states can be exerted by the Court of Strasbourg, given the relative passivity of the Court of Justice of the European Union so far. Gabriele Caceres (ULB) has summed up these major issues in a brand new ORELA report entitled: "Religion and beliefs: fundamental rights guaranteed by the ECHR and EU law".
Download report here.
Freedom of religion, equality and non-discrimination based on religion or belief are fundamental rights firmly enshrined in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms adopted by the Council of Europe in 1950. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has progressively built a strong case-law in defence of those principles. The European Union has drawn heavily on the Council of Europe in its endeavour to promote fundamental rights, which it has done most notably in adopting binding anti-discrimination directives; control over the respect of such directives by legislation enacted by national states can be exerted by the Court of Strasbourg, given the relative passivity of the Court of Justice of the European Union so far.
The interactions between religion and politics in the European integration process are the focus of increasing attention in political and academic debates. However, the body of research that has been developing for several years relates mainly to the representation of religious interests at the European Commission. The influence of religious actors and networks within the European Parliament give rise to many suppositions, ambitions or fears, but there are few empirical data available. To fill the gap has been the purpose of the international research project RelEP (Religion at the European Parliament) associating researchers from nine universities in Europe and beyond — findings of the RelEP project are presented in Religion and politics in the European Union, The Secular Canopy, Cambridge, 2014. Studying the normative preferences of European legislators reveals the conditions in which religion exerts an influence.
ORELA s’était fait l’écho des prémisses du débat européen sur la circoncision, et ce dès la publication de l’arrêt du tribunal de Grande Instance de Cologne, en juin 2012, qui statuait que « le corps d’une enfant était modifié durablement et de manière irréparable par la circoncision », une modification « contraire à l’intérêt de l’enfant, qui doit décider plus tard par lui-même de son appartenance religieuse ». Cet arrêt, on s’en souvient, avait créé une situation jurisprudentielle inédite en Allemagne, interdisant alors de facto toute intervention de ce type en offrant pour la première fois une base légale à toute appréciation en la matière.
Numerous radical religious groups are active at the European level where they attempt to influence political leaders on issues such as Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. Those who refuse their hard-line agendas refer to these organisations, which usually call themselves “pro-life”, as “anti-choice”. There has been a recent change in the way these “anti-choice” organisations express their views on ethical topics: a previous focus on emotions has given way to an increasingly ‘rational’ message. The new conservatives have appropriated values related to democracy and human rights to find a new means of building a sense of legitimacy for their discourse.
Le G3i est un groupe de réflexion et de pression international qui s’engage pour le dialogue interculturel et interconvictionnel en Europe. Les associations qui le composent sont issues des marges de l’Église catholique et des autres religions instituées, ainsi que de la nébuleuse des mouvements non confessionnels. Ce qui les rassemble, c’est la volonté de se rencontrer et d’échanger dans le respect et la reconnaissance mutuelle, loin des discours officiels, considérés comme trop limités et exclusifs, sur le dialogue interreligieux. C’est aussi la volonté de faire entendre d’autres voix que celles des autorités ecclésiastiques au sein des institutions européennes.
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the European Union and the Council of Europe have become increasingly prominent in the struggle with religious freedom in Europe and beyond. Three recent steps have confirmed the trend, exposing opportunities and liabilities inherent in the rise of European institutions as key actors in the interaction of law, politics, society and religion.
On 24 April 2013, in Strasbourg, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted Resolution N. 1928 (2013), ‘Safeguarding human rights in relation to religion and belief, and protecting religious communities from violence’. The Assembly warned against ‘the increasing occurrence of violent attacks against religious communities and individuals throughout the world on the basis of their religion or beliefs’ and noted that ‘there is not only physical, but also psychological violence against persons because of their religion or beliefs’. Representatives of national Parliaments to the Council of Europe therefore condemned ‘such violence in unequivocal terms’ (n. 1). Witnessing the growing conversation between European institutions, the Assembly also called on ‘the European Union, in its political dialogue with non-member countries, to enhance its monitoring of the situation of communities and individuals defined by religion or beliefs’ (n. 14).
L’Ukraine de la période post-soviétique présente une spécificité remarquable par rapport aux autres sociétés du monde slave ou orthodoxe. Son histoire et son passé récent y ont produit un large pluralisme religieux, officiellement protégé par la loi, mais pourtant source de conflits. Les nouvelles déclinaisons de la liberté religieuse et de la laïcité de l’État pourraient dès lors y être menacées par les pulsions uniformisatrices du pouvoir et des acteurs religieux eux-mêmes.
Forgetting the remote episodes that confronted Christians with Muslims along history, this work seeks to focus on the current presence of Islamic community in the EU, analyzing the attitude adopted by European society towards these groups. In this sense, we must observe the important evolution from the initial paternalism to the subsequent indifference that in recent years has turned into a mutual animosity. This situation is confirmed by several circles, which consider the advancement of Islam as a threat to the EU. Therefore, following this argument we can confirm that for a large part of the European people, Muslim values have no place in Western secular tradition.