Research project

ReLiCon: Religion, Illiberal Constitutionalism and the Retrogression of Fundamental Rights in East Central Europe

About the project

This research project studies the impact of organised majority or (de facto) state religion on the constitutional and judicial politics of fundamental rights in East Central Europe. Specifically, it explores the ways in which constitutional texts and judicial interpretation have become venues for contestation and retrogression of fundamental rights and liberties through the use of Orthodox Christian or Catholic value claims.  The study will investigate how religious arguments reach constitutional and apex courts and how they in turn affect the constitutional interpretation of fundamental rights with a view to better understand the variations concerning the impact of organised majority religions on legal mobilisation and constitutional outcomes. The outputs of the study will generate both comparative and transnational insights into religions’ influence in constitutional contestation in East Central Europe. 

ReLiCon is funded by a CIVICA Research grant under the EU’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020. It is a collaborative project based at the Hertie School, the Central European University, and the European University Institute.   


  • Project lead:

    Ivo Gruev, Postdoctoral Researcher, Centre for Fundamental Rights

  • Collaborators:

    Başak Çalı, Professor of International Law | Co-Director, Centre for Fundamental Rights

  • Gabor Halmai, Professor, EUI, Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies

  • Renáta Uitz, Professor of Law and Co-Director of Democracy Institute, Central European University