Freedom of Religion: A Fundamental Right in a Rapidly Changing World

Brussels – 30 March 2012

On 30 March 2012 the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) participated at the European Commission to the Dialogue-Seminar on “Freedom of Religion: A Fundamental Right in a Rapidly Changing World.” This Dialogue Seminars is co-organised by the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) and the Church & Society Commission of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) together with the Bureau of European Policy Advisors of the European Commission (BEPA).

Dialogue Seminars have a longstanding tradition in the cooperation between the European Commission and the Churches in Europe. Since their beginning in the early 1990s, they have proved to be a significant discussion forum for matters of common concern. It allows for an open exchange of views on pertinent EU policies. They represent an important element of the open, transparent and regular dialogue between the Churches in Europe and the European Commission. Dialogue Seminars usually take place twice a year. The Lisbon Treaty (Article 17 TFEU[1]) has lifted the dialogue from good practice to a legal obligation, enshrined in primary law.

In every country where the people’s rights of freedom of religion has been violated – and even threatened -, the society itself is at risk. Freedom of Religion is actually an important indicator for assessing the implementation of Fundamental Rights as a whole. The EU should therefore more clearly monitor violations of Freedom of Religion both within the EU and throughout the world. This was the main request put forward by the CEC and COMECE to the European Commission at the seminar.