Commissioner Reding answered Parliamentary Questions on blasphemy laws within the European Union.
You can find the Parliamentary Question here.
Answer by Commissioner Reding:
The Commission refers to its answer to Written Questions E-001542/2008 and E-003725/2009. Freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of our democratic societies, enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the European Convention on Human Rights. However, according to Article 51 (1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, its provisions are addressed to the Member States only when they are implementing Union law. When enacting or maintaining national blasphemy laws the Member States concerned do not act in the course of implementation of EU law. In that matter it is thus for these Member States alone to ensure that their obligations regarding fundamental rights – as resulting from international agreements and from their internal legislation – are respected.
As regards the EU’s external policy, the Council expressed in its November 2009 conclusions its deep concern that in countries that have legislation on defamation of religions, such legislation has often been used to mistreat religious minorities and to limit freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief. The Council furthermore underlined that no restrictions in the name of religion may be placed on those rights and that religion may never be used to justify or condone the restriction or violation of individual rights.