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Europeanisation through Experimentation: New Venue Orientation and Policy Learning among National Minority Groups

Tamara Jovanovic
University of Roskilde
Tamara Jovanovic
University of Roskilde

The European Union and its ambiguous approach to national minority groups appear to be pushing the boundaries of traditional notions of minority rights protection. Instead of a provision of standards and recognition of national minorities as objects of EU law per se, EU policy making and governance modes fill functions that are supportive of accommodating differences, expanding the access to equal participation and removing some traditional barriers to transnational cooperation. At the same time, national minority groups seem to have embraced a new understanding on the significance of seeking links to several major policies and forwarding own initiatives and proposals under the new frames and conditions. Such tendencies are largely created through an unintended emergence of practice and mobilization among national minority groups when mainstream EU policies are practiced. While this affirms the linkage between the EU and a lesser formalized policy area through learning mechanisms and new venue orientation, it also locates the traditional views of minority rights protection in a new light. It brings minorities into the complex web of EU policy making and structures, enabling practices which help to define new norms of minority practices through experimental use of both venues and policy lines, this despite the absence of concrete EU competences and a clear policy model. In order to gauge this change, the study employs mechanisms and methods from the general EU governance and Europeanisation literature, with a particular focus on the notions of transnational policy learning and ‘venue shopping’ ideas.
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