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Instrument of Mobilization or a Bridge towards Understanding? Religion and Values in the Reform Process of the European Union

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The self-understanding of the Europeans has been profoundly put into question since 1989, and during the EU reform process, 'Europe' was confronted by the task of describing itself anew. In this context, the debate about the significance of the religious patrimony took on a key position in the discourse. The broad public discussions of the preambles to the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Treaty establishing a Constitution for the European Union (ECT) indicate that the relationship between religion and political remains a controversial issue. The article argues that the 'preamble disputes' are part and parcel of the European Union's quest for a political identity and that the outcome of the identity debate—the self-description as a 'community of values'—deals in a specific way with this fundamental question.

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