Discrimination in Employment, Immigration and Data Protection Print

Rik Torfs
Louvain University, Belgium

delivered at the
International Coalition for Religious Freedom Conference on 
"Religious Freedom and the New Millenium"
Berlin, Germany, May 29-31, 1998


In this contribution on discrimination in employment, immigration and data protection, I shall try to comment on the topic at three different levels, showing an increasing degree of complexity.

The first level is the level of direct discrimination, which means: because a government dislikes religion in general or some concrete religion in particular, it discriminates against it on the occasion of one of the three problems dealt with in this article. This first level is the easiest one to comment on. This is quite possible, as it offers a clear situation.

The second level is already more complex. Religious freedom is not perceived negatively as such, but is balanced with other fundamental rights or other values considered to be important in society. Given the principle of scarcity, choices have to be made. Should they always be in favor of religious freedom? This is the central question of the debate.

The discussion becomes even sharper at a third level. Policy and jurisprudence concerning religious freedom in employment, immigration and data protection are situated in a broader cultural and political system. Is there any interaction between the political system and religious freedom which should be paid attention to? Or another option is whether religious freedom is an immovable value which should be protected in an equal way everywhere in the world. In other words: does the European political and cultural context influence the way of giving shape to religious freedom in the old continent? Or does it not?

I shall develop these three ranges of problems in the field of employment, immigration and data protection. My comments will be based mostly upon the situation in the European Union and its member states, yet also developments elsewhere in Europe shall be marginally at stake.

First level: Direct Discrimination

A direct way of discrimination in the field of immigration could be a purely negative attitude towards proselytism. In the event of proselytism being forbidden, it becomes both politically and legally easier to refuse the entrance to the country for people eager to spread their religious messages.

Direct discrimination problems regularly emerge in Greece. For instance, proselytism is treated in Greece as an offense under the criminal law. This law was established in 1938, and replaced by another provision in 1939. Proselytism is a criminal offense when it is carried out systematically and pressingly, directly or indirectly, by use of unlawful or immoral means amounting to a violation of the religious conscience of a person of a different religion, in order to change his religious beliefs. Proselytism is punished severely, by imprisonment, fines, police surveillance and even expulsion in the case of a foreigner.1 Expulsion: this means that just trying to convince people of the value of a religion could lead to expulsion from the country! In the Greek constitution of 1952, proselytism was considered an offense when it was directed at an Orthodox. The present constitution (1975) protects all religions from similar injury.

The legislation on prosyletism, leading possibly to expulsion from the country, becomes all the more threatening in combination with a strict and negative attitude towards certain religious groups. This becomes clear in the case of the KEP. (Center for Applied Philosophy of Greece), an association aiming at the presentation, teaching and dissemination of the educational and philosophical principles of Dianetics and Scientology. A court in Athens ruled that KEPE is an association which pursues goals that are extraneous to the nature and the notion of man as a free being, to the manners and customs of the Greek people and to the Greek public order, and thus ordered the dissolution of the association.2

Direct problems are equally possible at the level of employment: in case religions are not granted any legal personality, it becomes very difficult to set up a complete association and to hire people in a legally safe way. Personal liability of church leaders is not an attractive perspective indeed. The absence of legal personality leads to numerous problems connected with the financial situation of religions, not only at the level of hiring employees but also at the level of acquiring real estate and constructing buildings for worship. Even entrance to court as a religious movement becomes impossible.3

Concerning data protection, direct problems could occur when the data concerning church membership have negative consequences in society. For instance, the idea that a member of Scientology could not be a public servant in Germany, an idea debated in German legal periodicals in 1997,4 would be an example of such a direct discrimination.

In summary, one can conclude that direct discrimination in the field of employment, immigration or data protection is a) not very widespread though not entirely absent in EU-member states; b) that it is more like a direct threat in former communist countries; c) that it could also partly be a specific problem of countries dominated by Orthodox churches, as they tend to be thoroughly connected with state power. Yet, although we have to show empathetic feelings towards the policy of these countries, it is equally clear that these forms of discrimination are not acceptable. In other words, it is easy to be opposed to them without taking the risk of forgetting or abandoning other important values. So, it is not difficult to take a position.

Yet problems become more difficult at the second level.

Second level: Balancing Religious Freedom with Fundamental Rights and other Values

Protection of religious freedom becomes an even more complex issue when some balancing with other fundamental rights or other values in society is at stake. Arguing that religious freedom always prevails, would be a sign of straightforwardness, yet not of intelligence or nuanced thinking.

A typical example is offered by the confrontation between protection of privacy of individuals on one side and the free internal organization of religions on the other side.5 An equilibrium has to be found and is not always easy to achieve. It is also true that concerning the use of private information, there is sometimes a distinction between various religious groups, depending on their different legal positions. For instance, in Germany religious groups enjoying the status of public corporations have larger possibilities than groups not enjoying this status,6 a situation which could be debated. In any case, the fact that churches cannot as easily as before collect information about their members, leads to some very visible consequences. For instance, in the Netherlands, Roman Catholic ecclesiastical courts ruling on the possible annulment of Catholic marriages, do not receive any help from the authorities in finding out the new address of the partner who is the defendant in a case. Civil registers are not open to outsiders, even if churches look for the address of their members.

Protection of privacy is, just like religious freedom, a fundamental right, which means that balancing both rights comes to a weighing up between two values legally situated at the same level. In the field of employment and labor law, this formal equality is not necessarily established. In most countries, labor law is compulsory, and is perceived to be very important because of the intention of protecting the weaker against the stronger in the economic system. But then again, it is not the expression of a fundamental right. Nonetheless, labor law and religious freedom sometimes turn out to be balanced. At the occasion of this balancing, far-reaching statements concerning religious groups can be made.

An example: The Federal Labor Court in Kassel, which is the highest instance of all Labor Courts in Germany, determined by judgment of 22 March 1995 that the Scientology Church is not a church but an organization that pursues economic interests under an ecclesiastical cover and which possibly evades compelling security regulations of Labor Law by referring to regulations on laws for associations. Even membership and religious services were considered to be strongly commercialized. This was one of the reasons why the Federal Labor Court granted a former member of Scientology Society the right to sue the Scientology Church in Labor Court in order to get an “appropriate” salary for his work. The case was about a former collaborator of the society who had been working full time for the Scientology Community since 1990, and who was now claiming his wages.7 In Germany, the right of self-determination of religion is large.8 For that reason, the Federal Labor Court in Kassel opposed against the label church for Scientology, in order to protect better the legal position of the former collaborator who economically happened to be the weaker person. Such a decision leads to a double impression. On the one hand, it is not very sympathetic that churches can severely destabilize the social and financial position of their collaborators. On the other hand, it seems to be a far cry to say that waiving the epithet church becomes necessary in order to protect an employee’s rights against the behavior of his employer.

But then again, it is clear that labor law becomes more and more important in European society. Fields which in the past were left to the free enterprise of citizens and groups, find themselves more and more covered by compelling labor legislation.

In Europe in the field of church and state relationships, three criteria are important to determine the degree of autonomy that churches and religious movements enjoy in labor relationships, namely the nature of the organization, the nature of the job, and finally the legal status of the employee: is he a cleric or a lay person?9 Based on this pattern, and roughly speaking of course, one can distinguish in Europe four different situations.10

  1. The employer is a religiously inspired organization with a secular goal, for instance a school or a hospital. All employees, both clerics and lay people, will need a labor contract and are bound by labor law. The rights and duties of the employee can be partly colored by the specific identity of the religious organization.
  2. The employer is a church or religious organization in the strict sense. However, the concrete job is secular. For instance, the employee is an organ player or a car driver. A compulsory labor contract for both clerics and lay people is very likely. The specific identity of the religious organization could play a small role in determining rights and duties of the employee.
  3. The employer is still a church or religious movement in the strict sense. Yet, the concrete job is spiritual or religious. The employer though is not a cleric. Here again, a labor contract and the compulsory applicability of labor law will be hard to avoid. However, there is plenty of room for specific religiously colored rights and duties of the employee, although not without limits. The latter shall be imposed by civil legislation.
  4. The employer continues to be a church or religious organization in the strict sense. The job remains spiritual or religious. Yet, one difference is relevant: the employee is a cleric. Only at this stage the presence of a labor contract and of compulsory labor legislation clearly can be avoided.

The four categories and their legal consequences show that in weighing religious freedom, more precisely the autonomy of religious organizations, with compulsory labor law, prevalence is given increasingly to labor law and to the protection of the employee, with however certain guarantees for religious integrity, which are reflected in the rights and duties of the employee.

Although this process of balancing is, as such, a rather healthy one, it could nonetheless entail negative consequences for both churches and religious organizations. Why? The balancing takes place more and more often, and a role is attributed to some values which do not seem to be strong enough to be balanced with a noble fundamental right such as religious freedom. One can identify some traces of this evolution in what I wrote before: As already described, religious freedom is balanced with other fundamental rights such as protection of privacy. It is also balanced with other important legally incorporated values which do not give shape to a fundamental right, such as for instance compelling labor law protection. Yet, the latter weighing goes one step further than the previous one, as no balancing between two equally fundamental rights is any longer at stake. Freedom of religion is opposed to the important value, yet it is not a fundamental right, of labor protection.

I fear that there could be a trend showing some form of balancing at an even lower level: religious freedom enters into competition with notions such as right to peace, rest and quietness, which may have a certain tie with the protection of privacy but which also can be unduly extended. Or, to put it in another way, ultra-individualistic feelings in society can lead to a diminished degree of tolerance towards institutionalized religious groups and their activities. Ultimately, proportionality could well be abandoned.

A good example of this approach is offered by a decision issued at the end of 1995 by the administrative tribunal of Lisbon. What were the facts? A church, the Igreja Evangélica-Assembleia de Deus used as a place for worship the ground floor of a building which was used for permanent habitation. Other inhabitants of the building argued that the religious services were too noisy, as occasionally music was performed. The inhabitants also felt disturbed by funeral ceremonies. And indeed, an independent inquiry had shown that at several ceremonies the noise exceeded the legally established limits. As a consequence of all this, the neighbors sought the closing down of the ground floor as a place for worship or, if the previous could not be achieved, the prohibition of organizing any act pertaining to cult after 6 p.m. or on Saturday and Sunday morning before noon. The administrative tribunal of Lisbon ruled that a) isolation devices to protect against noise had to be constructed immediately and b) independently from the noise problems, funerals were forbidden and other ceremonies could only take place on Friday between 3:00 and 4:15 p.m., on Saturday and Sunday after 11:30 a.m. and in any case never after 6 p.m.11 Although the compulsory isolation works can only be approved, this is definitely not the case for the second part of the decision which, under the umbrella of balancing, in fact is strongly limiting religious freedom.

In conclusion, one can say that at the second level, the level of balancing religious freedom with fundamental rights and other values, some limitations of religious freedom, at the level of organizational religious freedom, are conceivable and have to be accepted. This is also true in the field of employment and labor law, and in the field of data protection. Yet, within the context of balancing, proportionality can never be abandoned, and “balancing” can not be a covering up for a hyper-individualistic approach which evaluates negatively every kind of organized religion.

But problems become even more sophisticated at a third level, the level of basic political options in society which could influence the extent and the significance of religious freedom as a notion. At this level, no simple answers are available.

Third Level: Religious Freedom and Basic Political Options in Society

The phenomenon tends to become more marginal than before, but from time to time it emerges again: leaders from third world countries claiming that democracy is a typically western notion, and that, in their country, the will of the people is expressed in another way, namely through dictatorship and, if possible and for the time being, dictatorship under their guidance.

A similar question—but in a more complex and nuanced surrounding—can be formulated concerning the fundamental right of religious freedom. Is it a static notion, settled for once and all, and equally applicable everywhere in the world? Or can its content (slightly) vary from country to country, partly influenced by the political and cultural setting it is operating in? This question is important, yet not always easy to answer.

By the influence of the political setting, I do not so much mean the implicit framework of religious freedom itself. For instance, in most European countries, the framework of religious freedom is at least tacitly inspired by majority religions. This implies that the latter feel better at home in the system, and that they are always the first to enjoy material benefits granted by the state, which is a typical characteristic of most European systems. Yet, this implicit Catholic or Lutheran or Christian model, is not typical for Europe. One can also discover it elsewhere. For instance, Lourens du Plessis selects it for South Africa. Christianity as the implicit framework there includes a series of Sunday observance laws. Blasphemy is understood with a definite christian bias. Some other elements recently have been abolished.12

Although this influence of Christianity in elaborating the notion of religious freedom is clearly present in many European countries, I have in mind another configuration definitely influencing the significance of religious freedom: the general political context. What do I mean by this? I have the impression that religious freedom in its purest sense, as a notion coming from the great philosophers of the Enlightenment, functions in an optimal way in a free market society with a limited political role left to the government. Certainly the government is responsible for justice and police, perhaps for some basic social needs as well, but then it does not play a major role in society by regularly intervening in financial, social or economic matters. Only in a state where the government has a restricted role, and with a clear focus on individual responsibility of citizens, can religious freedom be judged without complex entanglements, just based upon its intrinsic merits, and thus without having to deal with all kinds of consequences which may conflict with certain political options in society.

It is typical for European society, at least at this stage (some changes could occur), that it continues to attribute a more important role to the government, including more developed welfare mechanisms and (the other side of the coin) considerably higher taxes. One could wonder how all this could influence the content of religious freedom, but then again it does.

I shall try to illustrate this by some examples in the field of labor legislation and of immigration.

The first example concerns Sunday as a compulsory day of rest. In many European countries, this principle was maintained rather strictly, which led, for instance, to the closure of shops on Sunday. Nothing similar was foreseen for Jews on Saturday, or for Muslims on Friday. During recent years, Sunday as a compulsory day of rest has been more and more challenged, not so much or not entirely because it is Sunday, but just because of the general principle of it being a compulsory day of rest. For financial and economic reasons, a 24-hour economy seems to be more profitable: at any moment of the week, people are at work and the economic process never stops. Meanwhile of course, people do rest, but then they do it at different moments. This means that rest as such clearly remains guaranteed, but that its collective aspect tends to disappear. This could have consequences for the protection of Sunday as the day of rest recognized by most Christian churches, but also for contacts and relationships within families or other groups, whose members otherwise could very well be at work and rest at quite different moments.

An interesting decision in this regard has been offered by the Court of Justice of the European Community on 12 November 1996.13 The Court of Justice annulled article 5, second paragraph, of the Working Hours Directive. This clause stated that the guaranteed minimum 36-hour period of rest each week should, in principle, include Sunday.14 The Court examined the legal basis for this provision and decided that the Council had failed to explain why Sunday as a weekly day of rest had a more specific connection with the health and safety of workers than any other day of the week.15 The annulled clause, which did not feature in the initial draft, had been adopted at the insistence of the Dutch and German governments.16

Yet, the problem is not only a question of protecting Sunday. That became also clear in Finland, where the government, proposing the possibility of retail shops, barbers and hairdressers to be open on Sunday invoked as arguments, the consumer’s requirements and the stiffening of commercial competition.17

The discussion on Sunday as a compulsory day of rest clearly deals with two different topics, namely a) the protection of Sunday as a day of religious observance and b) the protection of a compulsory day of rest for society as a whole, notwithstanding pressure exercised by an increasingly powerful free market mechanism. This is why, for instance in the Netherlands, both trade unions and churches argue in favor of Sunday as a compulsory collective day of rest, yet relying on different arguments. And it is equally clear that in a society which systematically gives way to free enterprise and the free market, and which confines the role of the state to a minimal level, discussions of this kind will not easily occur. Obviously in such a context, just for religious freedom’s sake, Sunday can not be imposed on all citizens as a compulsory day of rest.

The second example could also be situated in the realm of labor law and social security protection. In Belgium, unemployed people benefit from a generous system of financial compensation. In case they are unable to find a (new) job, they receive unemployment indemnity, which could eventually be perpetuated: no time limit fixed. Of course, in case a job is proposed to the unemployed, he or she is not in position to refuse any offer systematically. If he refuses a suitable or decent job, he loses his unemployment indemnity. An important question lies in the identification of the suitable character of the job, which means for instance that it should correspond with the qualifications of the person concerned.18 Another question is to which extent religious motives can be decisive in defining a concrete job as being suitable or not. For instance, a Belgian court ruled that an unemployed Muslim could refuse a job in a slaughterhouse because in the job he would be obliged to touch pork.19 I think this is a correct application of the idea of conscientious objection based upon religious reasons. Yet, how far can this go: could a Muslim refuse any job which includes working on Friday?

Here again, one can discover the importance of the political context. Much depends, at least indirectly, upon the construction of unemployment indemnities. In case they do not exist at all, or if they are limited in time, refusing a job for reasons of conscience becomes a personal decision with possibly also considerable personal financial consequences. But then again, when the role of the state is less passive including generous and continuous financial help in case of unemployment, financial consequences of religious freedom are not supported by the individual, but by the state and the tax payer. In other words: protecting religious freedom becomes more complex in case other elements than just religious freedom are involved.

The third example also comes from Belgium and deals with the financing of churches and religious organizations as well as with the unexpected consequences this system could entail concerning immigration. In Belgium, a similar system exists in Luxembourg and in Alsace-Moselle in the East of France, several religions, at this moment six, have obtained official recognition by, or by virtue of the law. This entails salaries for the ministers of religion and a few other benefits. One of these benefits is the possibility to organize, in public schools, classes in a recognized religion in case parents ask for it. Up until now, Islam although being a recognized religion, does not enjoy the payment of its ministers, yet it is taught at several public schools including the payment of teachers. An interesting question concerns the criteria which could be used for appointing those Muslim teachers. They should be indicated by the competent religious authorities, of that there is no doubt.20 But what about the academic or other qualifications of these people? Religious teachers of the catholic or Protestant churches all have degrees which are not only recognized by the church, but also by the state. Their academic level is equal to that of other teachers. No school for Muslim religious teachers exists in Belgium. Should one lower the standards? Should one accept people from abroad, notwithstanding strict immigration laws, and with qualifications that can hardly be verified? At this moment attempts are made to offer satisfactory education for teachers of Islam in Belgium.21

The dilemma is clear. And once again, the problem is closely connected with some basic political options in society. Because of the fact that the state finances religious education in public schools, it has to guarantee the availability of teachers. And the symbiosis between religious requirements of internal acceptability and state requirements of academic credibility is not always obvious.

The conclusion of this title can be short: political options do complicate the concrete significance of religious freedom. The more extended the role of the state turns out to be, the deeper religious freedom questions mix up with other topics.

The best environment for studying and defending religious freedom in all its purity, remains a free enterprise oriented state, generously recognizing and protecting human rights. In case however the state plays a more active role in society, problems and questions become increasingly entangled. This does not necessarily lead to hopeless situations. Religious freedom remains tremendously important. But we should be aware of the problems if we want to deal with it in a fruitful way.

Concluding remarks

In this contribution, I dealt with some questions concerning employment, immigration and data protection in Europe. These topics where analyzed at three different levels.

The level of direct discrimination turned out to be both the first and the easiest one to deal with. As no other major elements are brought into balance with religious freedom, my viewpoint can be clear: every possible form of discrimination should be banned.

The level of balancing religious freedom with fundamental rights and other values already shows more difficulties. Is there any reason why religious freedom should always prevail on other human rights? Probably not. Then should it eclipse all other fundamental values not expressed in human rights catalogues? Not at all. Yet the principle of proportionality should always be safeguarded and one should remain conscious toward trends in society judging negatively organized religion as well as highlighting in too prejudiced a way an individualistic life-style.

Finally, the level of religious freedom and basic political options introduces real complexity. Can religious freedom as a notion be defined without taking into account the political context it is functioning in? I do not believe so: the more the state marks its policy in society, the more developed subtle and less subtle interaction between religious freedom and government policy will be. This complexity has to be recognized as a first step on the way to resolving dilemmas. The sake of religious freedom is not helped by just claiming its application, without any sense of nuance, but with a lot of pathos, at every possible occasion. To understand and to control the complex setting religious freedom is operating in, is a first and necessary move. Only then, after having studied carefully religious freedom as it really functions, including all possible entanglements and concrete forms of interaction with major options in society, can its indispensable protection be organized in a credible way.

1 Ch. PAPASTATHIS, “State and Church in Greece”, in G. ROBBERS (ed.), State and Church in the European Union, Baden-Baden, Nomos, 1996, 84.

2 Ch. K. PAPASTATHIS, “Church and State in Greece 1996”, in European Journal for Church and State Research, 1997, 35-36.

3 Greece has been convicted by the European Court in Strasbourg for not granting entrance to court to the catholic church: “Tis Panaghias” of Chania vs. Greece, 03.09.1996. Cf. J. DUFFAR, “Liberté de religion et Convention Européenne de Sauvegarde des Droits de l’homme en 1996”, European Journal for Church and State Research, 1997, 174-175.

4 Cf. e.g. W. CREMER and T. KELM, “Mitgliedschaft in sog. neuen Religions- und Weltanschauungsgemeinschaften und Zugang zum öffentlichen Dienst”, Neue Juristische Wochenschrift, 1997, 832-837.

5 Cf. G. ROBBERS (ed.), Europäisches Datenschutzrecht und die Kirchen, Berlin, Duncker & Humblot, 1994, 189 p.

6 Cf. D. LORENZ, “Personenstandswesen. Meldewesen. Datenschutz”, in J. LISTL and D. PIRSON (ed.), Handbuch des Staatskirchenrechts der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Berlin, Duncker & Humblot, 1994, I, 731-732: “Für die Datenübermittlung an öffentlich-rechtliche Religionsgesellschaften ist die ursprünglich geplante Gleichstellung kirchlicher und staatlicher Behörden (....) nicht Gesetz geworden. Vielmehr trefft §19 MRRG eine Sonderregelung. Danach können die in §19 Abs. 1 aufgelisteten Daten der Mitglieder sowie die in §19 Abs. 2 genannten, gegebenen falls kraft Landesrecht weitere Daten von Familienangehörigen der Mitglieder übermittelt werden. Ergänzend ist vielfach in Kirchenverträger ein kirchliches Auskunftsrecht für Zwecke der Erhebung der Kirchensteuer vorgesehen. Für Religions - und Weltanschauungsgemeinschaften privaten Rechts besteht dagegen nur die Möglichkeit einer (allgemeinen) Melderegisterauskunft gemäß §21 MRRG.”

7 Cf. J. LISTL, “The Development of Civil Ecclesiastic Law in Germany 1994/1995”, European Journal for Church and State Research, 1995, 20-21.

8 On the limits of the right of self-determinaton, cf. G. ROBBERS, “State and Church in Germany”, in G. ROBBERS (ed.), o.c., 63: “Not uncontroversial is the meaning and formulation of the limits of the right of self-determination. It exists only within the boundaries of the laws that are valid for all. For some time, the Federal Constitutional Court used the formula that a law would be a barrier to the right of self-determination of religious communities when the law did not particularly affect the religious community but instead affected everyone. Subject to that, a law creates impermissible barriers to a Church’s right of self-determination when the Church is not affected to the same extent as everyone else, but rather, within its special qualities as a Church, its self-identity and in particular its spiritual-religious duty is subject to special disadvantages. More adequate is another formula created by the Federal Constitutional Court whereby a barrier is raised when the law represents a provision of particular importance to the common weal.”

9 Cf. S. FERRARI and I.C. IBÁN, Diritto e religione in Europa occidentale, Bologna, il Mulino, 1997, 155.

10 R. TORFS, “Les animateurs pastoraux en Europe”, in A. BORRAS (ed.), Des laïcs en responsabilité pastorale? Accueillir de nouveaux ministères, Paris, Cerf, 1998, 172-173.

11 Cf. J.A. TELES PEREIRA, “Les Églises et l’État au Portugal. Récents développements”, in European Journal for Church and State Research, 1996, 104-107. J.A. Teles Pereira does not approve at all the decision: “Si l’obligation de procéder à des travaux pour l’élimination du bruit est indéniablement correcte (comme il aurait été correct d’imposer la suspension des sessions de culte jusqu’à l’achèvement des travaux d’insonorisation), il est choquant qu’une décision judiciaire détermine - de façon quelque peu arbitraire d’ailleurs - l’horaire de culte d’une Église. L’idée d’adéquation à laquelle nous avons fait référence plus haut à propos du principe de la proportionnalité, présuppose l’emploi du ‘moyen le plus bénin’ pour la solution de conflits de droits fondamentaux et, dans le cas en appréciation, l’élimination du bruit à travers les travaux d’insonorisation, garantissait déjà suffisamment le droit au repos et au bien-être des lésés, sans qu’il y ait nécessité d’étendre la protection des droits de ces derniers au point d’imposer à l’Église en question des horaires de culte (p.106).”

12 L.M. du PLESSIS, “Religion, Law and State in South Africa”, European Journal for Church and State Research, 1997, 223-224.

13 Court of Justice, 12 November 1996, C-84/94 ruling on the U.K.’s appeal that the Working Hours Directive be annulled.

14 Council Directive of 23 November 1993 concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time, Directive 93/104/EC, OJ 1993, L 307, 18.

15 S.C. van BIJSTERVELD, “Church and State in the Netherlands 1996”, European Journal for Church and State Research, 1997, 116.

16 S.C. van BIJSTERVELD, ibid. However, paradoxically, Sunday legislation in the Netherlands was liberalised to a great extent shortly after the adoption of the Directive.

17 J. SEPPO, “Church and State in Finland 1996”, Euro