Belgium: Belgium will become the second EU country to recognize Buddhism

BRUSSELS: Belgium is expected to officially recognize Buddhism after the federal government approved a bill on Friday, opening the door to federal funding, official delegates and school classes.
THE Belgian Buddhist Union had applied for recognition in March 2006. The union estimates the number of Buddhists in Belgium at 150,000. The only other EU country where Buddhism is recognized is Austria.
There are currently six officially recognized cults in Belgium: the Catholicthe Orthodox, the IsraeliteAnglican, Evangelical Protestant and Islamic, recognized in 1974.
Buddhism would be recognized as “a non-denominational philosophical organization” alongside organized secularism, recognized since 2002. It would receive federal funding of up to 1.2 million euros.
Once voted by the Parliamentthe law will pave the way for the creation of local institutions, the sending of Buddhist delegates to ports and airports, to prisons, the army, hospitals, the opening of Buddhism courses in education official parallel to the teaching of other cults.
All the Belgian provinces and the Brussels Region would then also each have to finance a local Buddhist centre.


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