Europe: a profane or sacred issue?: a study on the relationship between the political power and religions in the context of the European integration process | 2015

Author(s) Marco Aurélio Oliveira de Jesus
Advisor(s) Alessandra Silveira
Year 2015

Synopsis The religious interventionism in the European institutions — or the increasing efforts of religion to penetrate into the European public space — has been attracting serious academic attention. The present thesis aims to contribute to the understanding of the relationship between the spiritual and the secular in the context of European integration. A considerable part of the present study is dedicated to the framework of competences, compromises or requirements, be it legal, religious or ecclesiastical, relevant to the European Union, while focusing on the analysis of the proposals presented during the works of the Convention on the Future of Europe. The author decided to pay particular attention to the proposal concerning the possibility — addressed during the debate on the borders of our collective identity — of enshrining the concept of “God” and/or of an expressed common religious identity, described in a double Judeo-Christian confessional reference, in the preamble to the (failed) Constitutional Treaty. Another important proposal is the one that stresses the distinct, reinforced and binding participation of Churches and religious organizations in the policy development and decision-making processes of the Union, something that is referred to in Article 17 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. As a result, the objectives defined are achieved through a range of answers concerning the meaning of the political, legal and institutional convergence between the Union and the religious phenomenon. Bearing in mind the conflict identified, the conclusions show that, against the background of the complex European identity, there is a border that should be clearly defined and that calls for the absence of any spiritual or religious reference under the terms set out above. Furthermore, the author questions the commitment made for a new framework of institutional relations, which foresees a privileged intervention of religious organisations in the European public sphere.

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