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How Does the EU Interpret and Implement “Religious Freedom” as Part of the Enlargement System?

Trimmer, Michael Stuart (2015) How Does the EU Interpret and Implement “Religious Freedom” as Part of the Enlargement System? Master of Philosophy (MPhil) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:47955)

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This Thesis aims to examine the understanding of religious freedom used by the European Union when it considers the human rights element of the membership criteria for countries entering into the enlargement process. Because religious freedom is a less clearly defined right than most, multiple conceptions of it are possible, and understanding which the EU uses is crucial to future questions of external relations as well as internal human rights policy and enforcement.

To gain this understanding, the EU’s “Regular Reports” that examine the readiness of countries to join will be examined. The content contained within these will then be compared to documents examining religious freedom situations produced by the United States State Department’s Office for International Religious Freedom. By comparing the simple description of the religious freedom situation produced by USSDOIRF to the documents highlighting particular religious freedom linked to EU membership standards, issues that the EU is concerned with can be separated from those which it regards as not relevant to potential membership.

To gain the maximum possible data from the most appropriate sources, all countries that have been involved in the membership process since 1998 have been examined. This is the time when the EU’s membership processes were formalised. Also, countries that have become members have been examined alongside countries that are in various stages of applying, so as to give maximum range to the case studies involved.

The conclusion of this research is that the EU has a bottom-up, de jure, and negative (in Isiah Berlin’s terms) conception of religious freedom.

Item Type: Thesis (Master of Philosophy (MPhil))
Thesis advisor: Pabst, Adrian
Thesis advisor: Sakwa, Richard
Uncontrolled keywords: European Union Religious Freedom Enlargement
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
J Political Science > JN Political institutions and public administration (Europe)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2015 10:01 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 16:45 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Trimmer, Michael Stuart.

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