National Policy Towards Religious Associations within the Framework of European Law
Il Diritto dell'Unione Europea, 3/2013, Forthcoming
Posted: 22 Sep 2013 Last revised: 21 Nov 2013
Date Written: June 30, 2013
The article discusses the current status of policy towards religion as a national competence within the framework of European law. It submits that, in the present stage of European integration, core decisions concerning the public dealing with religion and religious communities are inherently a national policy domain. It submits also that this is recognised by EU law as it currently stands. However, the article argues that national law implementing national policy choices on religion is only one of the factors shaping the public dealing with religion at national level. Religion is in fact recognized as one of the sources of the founding values of the European Union and as a fundamental freedom within EU law. Therefore, the scope of the inalienable national policy domain is affected, through an on-going process, also by EU law, aimed on the one hand at preserving the identity and specific contribution of religious (and philosophical and non-confessional organizations) associations, as they have historically and culturally developed within the national States; and, on the other, at safeguarding and enhancing the promotion and protection of fundamental rights at EU level. Finally, it is also shaped by international rules on freedom of religion, first of all the European Convention on Human Rights, limiting Member States’ and the EU’s freedom in the same area.
Keywords: religion, European Union, national identity
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