This introductory chapter begins with a discussion of church-state relations in the countries in the original European Union (EU). It then sets out the purpose of the book, which is to investigate church-state relations in the enlarged EU resulting from the acceptance of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Slovenia in 2004, and of Bulgaria and Romania in 2007. The chapter addresses important questions such as: What are the broad patterns of church-state relations in these countries? How did these models grow historically, how were they reshaped by communist policies, and how have they evolved in the pre-accession stage? How significantly different are these models from church-state relations in established Western democracies? Will the new EU members' ability to consolidate democracy be hampered by their church-state relations? The religious make-up of these post-communist EU member states is also described.
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