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Original scientific paper

Europeanisation and Eurolaicisation: Key Landmarks in the Relations Between the European Union and Churches, Religious Associations and Non-Confessional Organisations

Hrvoje Špehar ; Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

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page 51-65

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The relationship between the European Union and churches, religious associations and associations of various non-religious beliefs is institutionalised by Declaration 11 of the Treaty of Amsterdam, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (Art. 10) and the Treaty of Lisbon (Art. 17 of the Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). As the treaties on the creation of the European Community and, later, the European Union failed to mention the relationship towards religious associations, which is perfectly understandable considering the contents of the treaties, a dialogue arose only with the informal, and, thereupon, more and more official initiatives between the European Commission and the representatives of the leading religious associations. Through an attempt to identify key landmarks in the relationship between the European Union and churches and non-confessional organisations, this paper seeks to explore the possibilities for historical institutionalism in researching the political system of the European Union. The key landmarks can be observed among churches and religious associations, as well as among the political bodies of the European Union. In studying the changes leading to the creation of a European model of the relationship towards religious associations, the paper focuses on the working of the European Commission, while leaving the impact of European legislation (which includes rulings by the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights) for a broader analysis of this relationship.


European Union, Europeanisation, Eurolaicisation, religious associations, historical institutionalism

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