EU Law’s Half-Hearted Protection of Religious Minorities Minority Specific Rights and Freedom of Religion for All
K. Henrard, ‘EU Law’s Half-Hearted Protection of Religious Minorities’, Religions 2021 12(10), 830; (special issue:"Religious minority special protection v. freedom of religion for all? A Critical Appraisal from Europe and Beyond", co-edited by Roberta Medda, Silvio Ferrari and Kerstin Wonisch).
This article begins with some reflections on the definition of religious minorities, their needs and rights and how this relates to the discussion about the need for minority specific rights in addition to general fundamental rights as rights for all human beings irrespective of particular identity features. Secondly, an overall account of the ambiguous relationship between religious minorities and fundamental rights is presented. The third and most extensive section zooms in on the EU and religious minorities, starting with an account of the EU’s general approach towards minorities and then turning to the protection of fundamental rights of religious minorities in/through the EU legal order. First, the EU’s engagement with minority specific rights and the extent to which these norms have been attentive to religious themes will be discussed. Second, the CJEU’s case law concerning freedom of religion and the prohibition of dis-crimination as general human rights is analysed. The conclusion then turns to the overall perspective and discusses whether the EU’s protection of religious minorities’ fundamental rights can be considered ‘half-hearted’ and, if so, to what extent. This in turn allows us to return to the overall focus of the Special Issue, namely the relationship between the freedom of religion for all and special rights for religious minorities.