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  • Author: Monica Andriescu, Sergiu Gherghina
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The processes of nation and state formation have been challenged in specific ways by the transitions in post-Communist Europe. The number of ethnic minorities, their territorial concentration and strength generated situations in which either state division was imminent (e.g. former Yugoslavia) or secession threats were latent. Many political actors transformed these situations into (personal or own group) advantages. Among the new democracies in which ethnicity could be considered a relevant societal division, Romania is an appealing case due to its developments over time. The violent clashes between the majority population and the Hungarian minority in 1990, in the aftermath of regime change, appeared to set the pace of the inter-ethnic relations after the regime change. In this context, the politicization of ethnicity to spawn national and ethnic solidarity in Romania was the logical consequence. How did this process influence the evolution of inter-ethnic relations in post-communist Romania?
  • Topic: Human Rights, Governance, Law, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe, Romania
  • Author: Zora Popova
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The Council of Europe Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education (EDC/HRE) was adopted in 2010 and signed by 47 member states. The endorsement of the Charter was recognized as a major achievement of almost 10 years of developing ideas and strategies, public and political debates, intensified discussions among institutions and stakeholders, international consultations, policy provisions and decision implementation.
  • Topic: Education, Human Rights, Law, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Adrian Schaefer-Rolffs, Kai-Uwe Schnapp
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: Democracy can, according to Robert Dahl, be understood as a political system in which those affected by a decision have a proper chance to take part in making this decision. Although it is accepted by political theorists as well as many men and women on the street, this norm is not easily implemented in all situations. One situation in which implementation might not be as straightforward is the proper political participation of any kind of minority, be it national, ethnic, religious, cultural or otherwise. This question of minority political participation has grown in importance in Europe over the last decades. This is the case, because European nations are beset by a total of more than 300 national and ethnic minority groups with over 100 million members. Awareness and appreciation of this fact has massively increased recently in terms of politics as well as with regard to discussion in the social sciences. While there are at least some explicit perceptions of the institutional quality of participatory rights and facilities across Europe, there is almost no empirical account of the role and the perception of political rights and/or institutions that foster minority political participation.
  • Topic: Governance, Law, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Denmark
  • Author: Zora Popova
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: Voting is a fundamental democratic right that empowers people to exercise their civil control over the politics and politicians, over the different branches of power, over the development paths of their countries. Democratic electoral systems in Europe vary greatly. But the electoral systems alone, although contributing to the specific architectures of the national democracies, are not the only factors that determine the quality of the democracy in place. Focused on legislation, rules and procedures, policy analysts sometimes tend to look at voters as "beneficiaries" and not as the active subjects who in fact have the power to change the status quo or to contribute to deformities of the political system in place, by not exercising their political and civil rights.
  • Topic: Democratization, Human Rights, Governance, Law, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Liefke Dolmans, Elisabeth Kühn
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: One of the founding principles of the European Union is the recognition that every individual is of equal value. On top of this, the 2000 Race Directive reaffirms the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin. Discrimination and inequality are nevertheless still major problems for vulnerable ethnic and national minorities in Europe, as the results of the most recent EU MIDI-survey describes. Bearing in mind the principle of equality, it is not surprising that two new equality concepts arrived at the Council of Europe and EU level in the last years: 'The new commitment to equality and non-discrimination' and 'full and effective equality.' In a communication Note from July 2008, the European Commission expressed its desire for this 'renewed commitment to non-discrimination and equal opportunity,' which proposes a shift from formal equality to a more substantive equality approach. In this paper, we will consider whether this statement is an exemplary expression of an assumed development in the EU, namely that of broadening and strengthening equality and non-discrimination legislation and, furthermore, whether a possible development from formal to substantive equality is also effectively taking place. We analysed whether this trend is only visible in the European Commission or also present within other players in the non-discrimination and equality field. We then sought to understand whether this trend is visible in theory as well as practice. This paper furthermore analyzes whether this trend enlarges the protection scope against discrimination for national minorities, or if this equality manifestation truly supports national minorities to be recognized as equals with the majority.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Governance, Law, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Tamara Jovanovic
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: This working paper explores the role of some recent components under the European Union legal and political aegis and its coexistence with the CoE, here approached as a potential advancement of the protection, promotion and preservation of national minority groups in European Union member states. Although the European Union has been slow in the development of clear competences on minority rights, several considerations pertinent to national minorities can be depicted across the European Union frameworks. The European Union treaty is committed to the safe guard of human rights and the respect for minorities in its 'values article' which are applicable under Community Action. This basis is further accompanied by other policy functions which stimulate action on the promotion and preservation of minority identities, in particular in the fields of language and culture. Such policies are prescribed in different degrees of European Union competences and modes of implementation, ranging between formal legal effects and informal political consequences, generating varied forms of Europeanization. At the same time, nearly all European Union member states are bound by additional transnational regulations on human and minority rights, such as those developed by the Council of Europe. This level of transnational human rights is gradually also becoming embodied into European Union structures, while already embodied by most European states' constitutions. By taking account of some developments under each process, their interaction, but also coexistence, this paper aims to identify how Europeanization and transnational forces can help to construct and sustain a policy field, namely a national minority policy.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Governance, Law, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alexander Osipov
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: This paper addresses the phenomenon of public fora which are designed to represent certain ethnic groups and are set up through popular vote. The academic and practical interest in such "congresses" results from the fact that over time it has been shown that these endeavors have: (1)proven to be viable and durable organization structures for about two decades; (2)secured flexibility in their establishment and functioning;(3) provided for mass participation in public discussions and voting; (4) avoided "identity trap" and most complexities related to setting qualifications and the selection of eligibility criteria for the participants; (5) been a bridge between minority activists and public authorities. At the same time, the real practical outcomes, the ability to act independently and visibility of the "congresses" on the political landscape are far from being obvious, and this raises questions about the reasons for such doubtful achievements and the very meaning of "representation" in such a context.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Governance, Law, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Iryna Ulasiuk
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The dissolution of the Soviet Union brought to the fore claims of linguistic minorities which had been ignored far too long. In almost all of the former Soviet republics language became an impetus to national revival and an important instrument in consolidating the newly independent states. At times excessively accentuated and overly politicized, the language issue demanded immediate reaction. It was not, therefore, surprising, that almost all of the former Soviet republics rejected to various degrees the legal dogmas which had been created in the Soviet Union and moved towards the weakening of the bonds within the former USSR, the lowering of the status of the Russian language as a symbol of long-term oppression and, as a consequence, the strengthening of the position of the titular language. Belarus has somewhat stood aloof in the process. With Russian being the de facto main language, and Belarusian playing largely a symbolic function, the position of other languages spoken by minority groups residing within the territory of Belarus seems indeed precarious. The present paper seeks to identify the main tendencies in the development of language legislation in the area of education, which has traditionally been considered as determinant for the survival of the language, in Belarus. It investigates the place of the Belarusian legislation in the field of education reserved for the language rights of the titular nation and those of national minorities.
  • Topic: Education, Governance, Law, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Belarus