Journal Article

Religion and State in the Candidate Countries to the European Union — Issues Concerning Religion and State in Hungary

Balázs Schanda

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 64, issue 3, pages 333-348
Published in print January 2003 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 2003 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3712488
Religion and State in the Candidate Countries to the European Union — Issues Concerning Religion and State in Hungary

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Cyprus, Malta, and eight former Socialist Central-European countries are about to join the European Union. This vill result in a slight change in the religious composition of the enlarged Union as Muslims are hardly present and the proportion of Catholics is higher (and Protestants lower) in the candidate countries than in the member states. The “new democracies” have elaborated new systems of Church-State relations. Some have followed a two-tier system, differentiating between traditional or large religious communities and other religions; other countries, such as Hungary and Poland, have an equal system for all religious communities. Candidate countries are unlikely to acquire a bad record for issues of religious freedom, as they adopted their legislation in conformity to European human rights standards. All candidates to the 2004 enlargement, apart from Cyprus, have bilateral contractual relations with the Holy See. With an elaborated policy of neutrality, Hungary underlines the separation of Church and State to a greater extent than most other candidate countries. Separation in Hungary, however, does not rule out cooperation between State and Church or public support for Church institutions.

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Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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