Ref. Ares(2019)4197017 - 02/07/2019
Mr Navracsics - Meeting with Archbishop Alain Paul
Lebeaupin, Apostolic Nuncio to the EU
Brussels, 1 June 2015
Religious values in the EU
It is difficult to get reliable statistical data on religious beliefs, but a Eurobarometer
from 2012 can shed some light. The Roman Catholic faith is the most prevalent
religion in Europe; 48% of Europeans interviewed (EU27) said to follow the catholic
faith, 8% orthodox faith, 12% protestant, 4% another Christian religion and 2%
Over time, religious sentiments have gradually lost prominence in the EU. A 2010
Eurobarometer found that 51% of EU citizens state that they "believe in God", 26%
"believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" while 20% "do not believe there is
any sort of spirit, God or life force". In 1994, 59% (EU12) considered themselves
religious persons, against 63% in 1982. Already in 1982, the lesser religious
sentiments of young people were clear; 35% of young considered themselves not be
religious vs 24% of adults.
Responding to which values the European Parliament should defend as a matter of
priority, 20% of young people mentioned the dialogue between cultures and religions.
(Eurobarometer on Youth 2014).
Commission's activities as regards religious groups
Over the past 10 years, the Commission has organised, every year, a high-level
annual dialogue with religious leaders. The Commission also organises dialogue
seminars with religious and non-confessional organisations on a variety of EU policy
issues, including climate change, employment, poverty and social exclusion,
citizenship or intergenerational solidarity. In 2011, a seminar was dedicated to youth,
education and culture organised by BEPA and COMALACE (free masons).
Under the Juncker Commission, the responsibility for the dialogue is entrusted with
First VP, Mr Timmermans.
EU funds for inter-religious dialogue
Erasmus+ supports capacity and cross-border cooperation of youth workers. The
origins of youth work in Europe (19th and 20th century) actually often feature Church
and Christian associations organising activities for young people.
Erasmus+ and the former Youth in Action programme supported many projects
around dialogue and solidarity between young people, bridging differences in culture,
social background or religious faiths.
Between 2007 and 2013, close to 900 projects have been supported dealing with
inter-religious dialogue, focusing on young people directly or through youth workers.
For example, a 9 day training course called "Faith Over Fear: The role and evolution
1 Discrimination in the EU, Eurobarometer 393, 2012.
Date of contribution: 20 May 2015
of religion in Europe and current issues facing European society" involving 40 youth
workers from 10 countries took place in North East England in 2013. Through the
project the participants gained a wider understanding of religious minorities and of
the factors behind religious oppression which lead to phenomena such as
Islamophobia. Furthermore, they are now able to better understand the role that
religious minorities play in society, their make-ups, behaviours and fears, and
became aware of factors to consider when involving them in local projects and
EU funds to fight racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism
The Commission (but not DG EAC) provides financial support to activities aimed at
fighting against racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism on the ground, through a
number of financial programmes. For the period 2014-2020 the Rights, Equality and
Citizenship Programme has replaced the three previous funding programmes
(Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Daphne III and two strands of the Progress
Programme - Anti-discrimination and Gender Equality) with a budget of EUR 439
The Justice Programme is the successor of the three previous funding programmes
(Civil Justice, Criminal Justice and Drug Prevention and Information Programmes).
The budget for this programme is EUR 378 mil ion over the period 2014-2020 and
the programme wil promote judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters, help
train judges, prosecutors and other legal professionals.
DG EAC activities to promote fundamental values
Many of DG EAC policies and programmes are directly linked to the objectives of the
Paris Declaration. The existing policy frameworks provide ample opportunities for
peer learning and exchange, dissemination of good practices on civic
education, inclusive education, intercultural understanding, as well as youth
participation and dialogue with young people. These include:
the Strategic Framework for European Cooperation in Education and
Training ("ET 2020"), in particular the 3rd strategic objective on “Promoting
equity, social cohesion and active citizenship”2
the European Youth Strategy (2010-2018),
the EU Work Plan for Sport (2014-2017), and
the Culture Work Plan (2015-18).
The Commission wil soon propose new priority areas in the ET 2020 and Youth
Joint Reports, which wil reflect a clear emphasis of the objectives of the Paris
2 2009 Council Conclusions: "Education should promote intercultural competences, democratic values and
respect for fundamental rights and the environment, as well as combat all forms of discrimination, equipping all
young people to interact positively with their peers from diverse backgrounds."
Date of contribution: 20 May 2015
To underpin these actions, the existing programmes (Erasmus+ and Creative
Europe) wil also be ful y mobilized. Many ongoing projects supported by Erasmus+
and Creative Europe programmes already contribute to promoting civic values,
enhancing inter-cultural understanding and inclusion, eg by supporting the mobility of
teachers and youth workers, youth exchanges and volunteering, strategic
partnerships in the field of education and youth, transnational networks, school
cooperation platforms, joint projects on citizenship education, and collaborative
partnerships in sport. Such activities wil be stepped up and complemented with other
actions in order to make an impact at a larger scale. Al actions should be embedded
in comprehensive, cross-sectorial approaches and implemented through reinforced
cooperation with the civil society and social partners to ensure appropriate outreach
and engagement at local level.
European Agenda for Security
The European Agenda for Security put forward by the Commission on 28 April 2015
specifical y acknowledges the role of education, youth participation, intercultural
and inter-faith dialogue, and sport in preventing radicalisation by promoting
common European values, fostering social inclusion, enhancing mutual
understanding and tolerance. It also stresses the importance of inclusive education,
youth work, volunteering, sport and cultural activities in tackling inequalities,
preventing marginalization and reaching out to young people.
The Communication refers to a series of concrete actions to be taken under the
Strategic Framework for European Cooperation on Education and Training ("ET
2020"), the European Youth Strategy, the EU Work Plan for Sport and the Culture
It also announces that the Commission wil mobilise funding under the Erasmus+
and Creative Europe programmes, inter alia to support the mobility of teachers, and
youth workers, youth exchanges and volunteering, strategic partnerships in the fields
of education and youth, transnational networks, school cooperation platforms, joint
projects on citizenship education, and col aborative partnerships in sport.
Date of contribution: 20 May 2015