chapter  8
5 Pages

Religion and the European Union


Europe is currently experiencing a number of crises, the most significant of which is of course financial. The latter does not just go back two or three years. It is much deeper. For several decades now, Europe has been trying to find its rightful place in the world order. Although Europe was meant to be built around its peoples – such was the hope of its founders, amongst them Denis de Rougemont – it was, effectively, set up as an economic market in constant flux (regarding the number of member states) and poised uncomfortably between the two opposing powers of the United States and China. These challenges were not the only ones: internally, the European Union is strapped with doubts that amount to an identity crisis. Migratory patterns, the evolution of societies and the new place of Islam and Muslims are all factors that, against a background of globalisation, impact on past certainties, the roots of Europe, a multifaceted future and, of course, European identity. Europe is looking to its past for answers, is unsure of its future, and the place of religion plays an underlying role in the vagaries of this crisis of être and identity. The seminars, debates and commissions set up in the last twenty years are strongly linked to this context of questioning, tensions and doubts.