Webinar Episode 4: EU Institutions’ Perspective

This episode presents perspectives from the European Union as it faces multiple challenges from the pandemic relating to religion and belief. 

Webinar Summary

Vincent Depaigne opens the dialogue with thoughts on the pandemic and religion by evaluating the first-, second-, and third-line responses to the virus in Europe. He adds how we should begin now to think through the best ways to productively emerge from the crisis, highlighting the way religion will be key in contributing to development as we move forward. Philippe Perchoc speaks to what the virus means to the European Union project and how religious organizations will play a crucial role in decisions made within the European Union regarding the virus. He points out that it has consistently been the religious and philosophical perspectives that enable EU directives to be more inclusive of human rights. Raphael Warolin outlines an institutional perspective on the tensions between public health and limiting freedom of religion or belief. He notes the various monitoring and assistance mechanisms the EU has in place to continue supporting freedom of religion and belief. Panelists concluded by addressing questions concerning restrictions on access to places of worship in Europe, how to address issues of the pandemic and religion as an EU institution while counterbalancing the legal discretion in Member States, and EU initiatives involving religious actors to respond to effects of the pandemic.



  • Dr. Vincent Depaigne, Coordinator of the dialogue with religious and non-confessional organisations, European Commission
  • Dr. Philippe Perchoc, Coordinator for the European Parliament dialogue with churches, religious and philosophical organisations, European Parliament
  • Raphael Warolin, Policy Officer, European External Action Service


  • Prof. Marco Ventura, Center for Religious Studies at Bruno Kessler Foundation / University of Siena