Reports and Documents
This final report of the RELIGARE project provides a synthesis of the projects objectives and key findings in the areas of employment, family law and (access to and use of) the public space. Based on these main findings, the report advances a number of recommendations that are addressed both to domestic authorities (member states) and, in particular, to EU institutions. The recommendations call for a more direct and active role for EU institutions in developing a coherent policy framework that would strengthen the fight against discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief and that is compatible with a democratic understanding of the functioning of pluralist democracies and can therefore help overcome divisions and segregations.
Date: May 2013
This booklet has been conceived with the aim of distilling the essence of the RELIGARE project to inform the policy-making process. The project examines the legal and sociological dimensions of how states manage, in their existing legal and policy systems, their relationship with individuals of diverse faiths and beliefs, while continuing to ensure respect for the principles of freedom and equality that underpin the European Treaty and Charter of Fundamental Rights.
It does not summarise the research project, nor does it provide a synopsis of its considerable contributions to new knowledge on the topic of managing religions and religious diversity as found in the European Union. Rather, it is designed to present the policy-relevant insights of the research in order to support the process of policy-making at EU level and within different national contexts. It explains why RELIGARE is important, presents the four key areas where the interface between the state and individuals’ religious affiliation are at their most sensitive, examines the implications of the research for policy-making and concludes with some topics for consideration to support the policy-making process in the coming years.
The booklet has been prepared on the basis of the project material available on the RELIGARE website, as well as an analysis of the contributions made during a conference to present the results of the research and their implications for policy-making held in December 2012.
While the EU has no explicit legal competence in the sphere of religion and the management of relations with faith communities, questions regarding religion and religious diversity have taken on increasing importance within the legal and institutional framework and policy discourses of the EU in the last years. This summary provides an overview of how religion and issues of religious diversity are being framed and addressed in EU law and policies, and particularly within the Directorates General and other internal departments of the European Commission. Through an examination of EU legislation and both formal and informal European policy initiatives in the fields of citizenship and fundamental rights, non-discrimination, immigration and integration, social inclusion and education and culture, we demonstrate that there is a complex and heterogeneous patchwork of EU normative approaches delineating the relationship between religion and the EU. By mapping these different framings of religious diversity, this summary aims to locate the RELIGARE project and its research activities in the context of the policy landscape of religion at EU level with a view to facilitate the policy relevance of its forthcoming research results.
This summary draws on the research findings contained in a RELIGARE Working Paper by S. Carrera and J. Parkin (2010), The Place of Religion in European Law and Policy: Competing Approaches and Actors inside the European Commission, Religare Working Paper No. 1, September 2010.
The focus on basic tensions or conflicts between basic rights may be easily misunderstood. Tensions or conflicts between rights are, indeed, normative tensions but not of the kind of „normativity‟ characteristic for moral philosophy. Quite to the contrary, these are tensions inherent in empirical norms (i.e. norms claiming legal validity) both in International Covenants of Civil and Political Rights or the ECHR as well as in (Constitutional) Law of Member States, whether we call these constitutions „liberal democratic‟ or „constitutional democracy‟ or not. In this „socio-legal‟ part of RELIGARE, we are interested in the empirical way in which Courts and Equal Treatment Commissions practically
deal with them, how they argue for – often widely diverging – balancing and weighing in judging cases in specific contexts and circumstances – and whether and, if so how these processes are influenced by deeper, implicit cultural biases.
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