Scientology’s Public Affairs and Human Rights Office gains Religious Recognition in Europe
On June 28th, 2019 the Spanish Ministry of Justice granted the status of Religious Organization to the European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs and Human Rights.
The European corporation established in Madrid, Spain, and operates in diverse locations all over Europe and beyond. This includes the main office in Brussels, with activities in Berlin, Copenhagen, Geneva, London, Paris, Strasbourg, Rome, Vienna, and Warsaw amongst others. It represents Scientologists from at least 37 member states of the Council of Europe [more than 78% of the states].
The first efforts of the Church of Scientology to dialogue with European and International intergovernmental bodies and contribute to building European values started with a European Office of the Church in Brussels and has dealt with public affairs and human rights issues throughout Europe ever since. It was established in 1990.
Since the beginning, the different teams and efforts of the Church have abided not only by the values enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights but also by the values promoted and protected by the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Ivan Arjona, President of this new entity has stated that “Europe has been evolving towards a more democratic and open movement where fundamental rights have become increasingly important for all citizens, contributing to stronger and more positive cooperation between European nations”.
In view of Article 17 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union, the Union “respects and does not prejudice the status under the national law of churches and religious associations or communities in the Member States” and “recognizes their identity and their specific contribution”, and in this light, the European Union “shall maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with these churches and organizations”.
Among the efforts made by the Church of Scientology to properly contribute to this dialogue, a renewed team and office entered in the field by registering with the European Union Transparency Registry last 18 July 2017, with number 872253227782-36 at the Registry’s section of “Organisations representing churches and religious communities”.
The Office has since then been involved in the different debates on relevant issues especially at the European Parliament, where the first personal official accreditation for a representative of the Church of Scientology was registered in October 2018.
This latest development of the incorporation as a legal religious entity of the European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs will contribute to a more useful, transparent and appropriate dialogue with the different European institutions, fulfilling the formal requirements in the 2013 Guidelines for implementation of Article 17 of the TFEU.
The above-mentioned entity, recognized as a religious organization by the Spanish Ministry of Justice, expressly mentions in article 2 of its statutes the purpose of: “… supporting the European values of Human Dignity, Freedom, Democracy, Equality/Equity, the Rule of Law and Human Rights”.
The approved statutes establish its territorial scope as “national and European”, acting as “an entity of reference for the entire European territory” and operating as “a purely religious non-profit organization, which shall be responsible for carrying out its own activities and act as a representative for the various Churches in Europe before national and supranational public and private institutions, fostering that which is set forth in article 17 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and pursuant to article 2.2 of the [Spanish] Organic Law on Religious Freedom”.
According to its statutes, spiritual growth in Scientology is reached in two ways: by helping individuals themselves with their own spiritual problems, and by increasing their spiritual awareness and individual abilities to help themselves and others to achieve freedoms and dignity.
The Office represents different national religious entities or churches whose purpose is to practice, teach and make known the Scientology religion established through the religious works of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard “for the benefit of all members of society”. The Office also works to engage in and promote a range of secular social betterment and human rights activities, amongst which are the promotion, education and campaigning on fundamental rights issues; drug prevention and reform, and the promotion of moral and ethical standards in society. In this way, it wishes to support and help to preserve or restore those historical and cultural values that are of benefit to mankind. The growing community of Scientology Churches, Missions, Groups, and social betterment corporations now surpasses more than 11,000 different organizations in over 170 countries
 Article 17 TFEU – 1. The Union respects and does not prejudice the status under national law of churches and religious associations or communities in the Member States. 2. The Union equally respects the status under national law of philosophical and non-confessional organisations. 3. Recognising their identity and their specific contribution, the Union shall maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with these churches and organisations.
 The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (latest version 2007) is one of two primary Treaties of the European Union, alongside the Treaty on European Union (TEU). Originating as the Treaty of Rome, the TFEU forms the detailed basis of European Union law, by setting out the scope of the EU’s authority to legislate and the principles of law in those areas where EU law operates.
 O.L. 7/1980 5 July on Religious Freedom. Article 2.2 The rights of Churches, Faiths and religious Communities also include establishing places of worship or assembly for religious purposes, appointing and training their ministers, promulgating and disseminating their own beliefs and maintaining relations with their own organisations or other religious faiths, within the national territory or abroad. https://www.boe.es/buscar/act.php?id=BOE-A-1980-15955