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EU Minorities Policy – Policy in Creation – Protection of Minority Rights and EU’s Acquis Communaitaire

Open Panel

Abstract

Though the main cause for the creation of the EU was the preservation of the security in Europe and economical prosperity of its nations, in contemporary times EU is becoming a creator of protection of individual rights and rights of minority groups. There is no legally binding document committed completely to the protection of minority communities in the EU. Certainly, it is not a sign of indifference regarding this issue. Protection of members of minorities is being implemented through a range of instruments, primarily by prohibition of discrimination of individuals, implementation of policy of equal access to market, realization of an entire spectrum of cultural policy (education, media and language policy) and protection of cultural identity of an individual. From the legal point of view, protection of minorities in the EU is regulated by primary and secondary norms. Within primary norms, the first EU act which obligated its members to respect the prohibition of discrimination by ethnic criteria was the Treaty of Amsterdam (1997). The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU (2000) is guaranteeing standards secured in the Treaty of Amsterdam and additional right to diversity. The Treaty of Lisbon (2007) has brought reform, new range of norms and implemented higher standards of legal protection of members of national minorities which became obligatory for some Member States of the EU. Secondary norms are elaborating the implementation of the protection of minority members in a more detailed way. In the secondary sources of EU law, in the segment of minority protection, European Council Directives, Decisions of the European Court of Justice, Decisions of the European Ombudsman, as well as the practice and decisions of the European Commission and the European Parliament have a special significance. In that segment important contribution to promotion of protection of minorities is bringing out special rules for reception of candidate countries to the EU. At the same time it leads to the realization of a higher level of quality of protection in a new EU Member State, but is also enhancing implementation of double standards within the EU.