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Evolution des relations entre les religions et les institutions européennes

The full ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon, after the second Irish referendum and the lifting of the Czech President’s veto opened the door for further institutionalisation of relations between religious groups and European institutions, as envisaged in Article I-52 of the Constitutional Treaty, now Art. 17 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union.
Under Barroso’s Presidency, dialogue seminars with COMECE and CEC have been restored, while they had been suspended for a time under Santer’s Presidency. Finally, summit meetings with the First Vice-president of the Commission are tabled each year. What is new is that the meeting with the big religious leaders has been separated from the one with representatives of secular humanism, which calls into question the Belgian-Dutch formula adopted after Delors, i.e. recognition of the humanist movement as a quasi-religion. This change can be explained by the strong conflicts that have opposed churches and the EHF on the issue of Article I-52, with humanists challenging the appropriateness of a specific advisory channel for religions, even if they themselves benefited from it. Moreover, the Commission has diversified the representation of non-religious philosophical movements, by incorporating movements from non-dogmatic Freemasons, who are advocates of a French kind of secularity in which secular movements do not seek to construct a counter-church.
To complete this picture of relations between the Commission and religions, it should be noted that relations between the EU and religions follow the former trend for pluralisation. Indeed, once a religious movement is recognised in one member country and adheres to european values, it is entitled to be a dialogue partner.

For further information :
 EU Council. Guidelines on the implementation of Article 17 TFEU by the European Commission (June 2013)
 European Parliament. The EU institutions and dialogue with non-confessional organisations (Nov. 2015)
 European Parliament. Dialogue of the EU institutions with religious and non-confessional organisations (Sept. 2016)

Updated by Françoise Curtit

D 9 septembre 2016    ABérengère Massignon

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