The status of national minorities in Europe challenges many of the primary local-to-global institutions. At the same time, no region in the world has progressed so far as to establish a minority rights regime that seeks to prevent discrimination and establish empowerment. Since the end of the Cold War, the focus on minorities in Europe has been primarily on conflict prevention and resolution. However, since the EUs enlargement in 2004 and 2007, the focus on minorities has become a subject of not only of Central and Eastern Europe, but Western European states as well.
In other words, national minorities are a European issue. The way that the EU, Council of Europe and OSCE have come to engage with minorities needs more analysis in terms of its effects on how national minorities are situated within national and regional contexts. The argument is that the focus on security and conflict has let this minority rights regime towards management and protection over empowerment.
This workshop aims to look comparatively at the impact of the minority rights regime throughout Europe, paying particular attention to European organisations, member-states and national minority communities. The comparative framework is based on the following questions: What is the relationship between European approaches to minorities and the impact on the ground? How have the ethnic conflicts of the early Cold War period shaped national and regional methods of ethnic management? And, finally, more normatively, how can European organisations and member states move beyond management and protection towards empowerment?