The Regulation of Religion in the Single Market

Ronan Mccrea

in Religion and the Public Order of the European Union

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199595358
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595776 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in European Law

The Regulation of Religion in the Single Market

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This chapter addresses the application of the identity-based framework within the context of EU Single Market law. It shows how EU employment law has embraced the principle of indirect discrimination, thereby protecting individual religious identity outside purely private contexts, ensuring the formal neutrality of the market place and pluralising the workplace in religious terms. Nevertheless, religious identity rights are still required to give way to certain public interests such as the commercial nature of the market economy, the need to protect the non-theocratic nature of the public order and pre-existing religious privileges in the market. The chapter also shows how the Union has recognised national links to individual denominations and national ideas of public morality, as parts of national culture. Such a view of religion reinforces the limits on the role of explicitly religious claims in the political arena but enables such faiths to access a degree of influence over law that is denied to other faiths. Furthermore, the EU has not fully appreciated the complexity of the relationship between ‘insider’ faiths and the limitations on religious influence over law and politics required by the humanist elements of the Union's identity. Finally, the chapter demonstrates how religions which are regarded as contrary to European culture have received scant recognition of their rights under EU law and have, in some cases, been characterised as contrary to the public order and liable to restriction on that basis.

Keywords: single market; religion; discrimination; indirect discrimination; public morality; employment; culture; secularism

Chapter.  23607 words. 

Subjects: EU Law

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