The increasing importance of matters of Religion and Belief in public life across Europe has been recognised in the treaties governing the European Union.
The Articles of the Treaty of Lisbon 2008, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, have led to greater awareness across Europe of the need to implement the related directives on discrimination on grounds of Religion and Belief, and promote harmony and mutual understanding between members of different religion and belief traditions.
The European Network on Religion and Belief (ENORB) seeks to work with others to combat discrimination and promote mutual understanding in the field of Religion and Belief, and to facilitate dialogue between Religion and Belief traditions of all backgrounds, on the basis of these texts, as set out below:
Article 10 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights guarantees that: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes freedom to change religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or in private, to manifest religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance. The right to conscientious objection is recognised, in accordance with the national laws governing the exercise of this right.”
Article 13 of the Treaty of Lisbon which guarantees: “in defining and implementing its policies and activities, the Union shall aim to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.”
Article 17 of the Treaty of Lisbon which states that the European Union: “Respects and does not prejudice the status under national law of churches and religious associations or communities in the Member States; equally respects the status under national law of philosophical and non-confessional organisations; recognising their identity and their specific contribution, the Union shall maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with these churches and organisations.”