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The politics of handling cultural diversity is one of the major issues in the construction of Europe, especially in light of the enlargement of the EU. The EuroEthos project aims to explore the possible scope for a shared European ethos through the analysis of political and legal questions concerning issues of religious and secular ethics-based requests for exemption from the law, in the belief that the study of such issues provides precious indications on how societies try to handle a plurality of values. The project has four objectives:

1.to develop and organise knowledge on cases in which religious and ethical secular values lead to the definition of politically relevant claims;

2.to raise historical awareness of the relationship between plural values and political stances;

3.to analyse the influence of a diverse cultural heritage on the political views of citizens in the enlarging Europe;

4.to study the scope for a European ethos as a precondition for political integration.

To achieve these objectives, the project will compile a database of cases of requests for exemption from the law, and run a comparative analysis focusing on two case studies. Building on this analysis, normative guidelines will be developed regarding the specific forms in which a pluralistic European ethos should be realised. The knowledge-based study on the possibility of fostering European political integration through the creation of a shared ethos will produce a better understanding of the impact of plural values and religions in societies across Europe, and of their role in relation to changes in society, as required by the objectives of the FP6 (activity 7.2.1). The project’s dissemination activities include conferences and a publication strategy aiming to communicate results to an academic and non-academic public. The researchers involved enjoy very good academic reputations. The combination of their different areas of expertise will provide a nuanced outlook on the issue.