Monday

26th Feb 2024

Church and state connected in most European countries

Religion and politics are far from being so strictly separated in the European states as the political debate might lead one to believe, writes Danish paper Kristeligt Dagblad on presenting the findings of an extended research into the constitutions of 25 European countries.

The research shows that the state is entwined with the religious life in the vast majority of the 25 EU countries – the fifteen EU member states plus the ten acceding countries.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The constitutions of five countries (Ireland, Greece, Poland, Germany and Slovakia) point to Christianity as the foundation on which ideas and values are built, and the Christian cultural heritage is mentioned in the preambles.

Six other countries (Denmark, Finland, Spain, Austria, Portugal and Great Britain) have constitutions establishing a more or less formal marriage between state and church by giving one particular church a special position.

Great Britain, which has no constitution, has a set of laws prescribing that the country has two state churches: The Anglican Church of England and the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.

Malta is the only European country in whose constitution a state religion is established: Roman Catholicism.

In France, Luxembourg and The Netherlands, church and state are formally separated. In Sweden state and church were separated by law in 2000 - but the state still pays for the maintenance of the church buildings.

In both Hungary and Slovenia, a proper separation of church and state is written into their constitutions.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania all have religious freedom written into their constitutions, but they favour certain churches and religious communities.

Analysis

Almost 20 names in running for EU top jobs

With four months until the European Parliament elections, there are already some 20 names in the hat for the ensuing reshuffle of EU top jobs.

EUobserved

New government in Belfast is much ado about not much

The deal to restore Northern Ireland's government — after nearly two years — is being spun as a major triumph. But not much has changed. This is an exercise in fine-tuning and political window-dressing.

Germany speeds up Georgia and Morocco asylum returns

Germany is expanding agreements to return rejected asylum seekers to their countries of origin as part of a wider shift in Europe to curtail migration. Berlin has reached deals with Georgia and Morocco since December.

Latest News

  1. EU rewards Tusk's Poland on rule of law with €137bn
  2. UK-EU relations defrosting ahead of near-certain Labour win
  3. EU paid Russia €420-per-capita for fossil fuels since war began
  4. After two years of war, time to hit Putin's LNG exports
  5. Creating the conditions for just peace in Ukraine
  6. Energy and minerals disputes overshadow new EU-ACP pact
  7. Germany speeds up Georgia and Morocco asylum returns
  8. How Amazon lobbyists could be banned from EU Parliament

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us