What is the European Union? Religion between neofunctionalism and intergovernmentalism

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This paper examines the ways in which religion has played a part in the process of European integration. By exploring the position of religious communities towards the European Community since the 1950s until today, it argues that the place of religion has been influenced by the theoretical debates on European integration, namely neofunctionalism and intergovernmentalism. It suggests that, since 1992, the European Union has adopted a neofunctionalist approach towards religious communities, in contrast with the dominant intergovernmentalist integration process between EU member-states. The analysis of religion in relation to this theoretical dispute raises questions about the nature of the European Union and the adaptation of religious communities to supranational institutions.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-176
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal for the Study of the Christian Church
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009


  • religion, European Union, theories of European integration, neofunctionalism, intergovernmentalism, concept of spillover, British Churches

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