Petr Fiala: Religion and European Politics

The contribution is focused on the analysis of changes in the relation between politics and religion in the EUcountries, and of the state of the art in political science research on this development. The belief that religiousissues will play an increasingly lesser role in the politics of advanced European countries and that the fundamentalquestions of the politics-religion relationship have already been resolved, have proved to be erroneous. Cases suchas headscarf ban in France, discussions related to R. Buttiglione's nomination into the European Commission or thePreamble of the European Constitutional Treaty etc., make it clear issues of religious beliefs, values and evensymbols have once again emerged as hot political topics and are shaping positions and actions of political actors,e.g., of European Christian parties. These challenges have to be addressed not only by normative political science,but also by comparative political science research based on empirical analysis so that actions of political actors,as they are taken in the newly shaped area of religion and politics, can be properly analyzed.