The history of ECMI
In connection with ECMI's 15th anniversary, a film was made on the History of ECMI. This film can be viewed here.
The history of ECMI began in 1991, as a memo by Kurt Hamer, representative for issues relating to the Danish and German minorities and for Frisian affairs, was widely circulated by Björn Engholm, who at that time was the Minister President of Schleswig-Holstein. As a result, a German-Danish commission was set up to investigate the possibilities for realization of the ideas set down by Kurt Hamer. This commission decided to order the preparation of two or three expert opinions on the establishment of ECMI. The main expert opinion was written by Henrik Becker-Christensen of the Danish Institute of Border Region studies in Aabenraa.
Then the Consul General of Denmark in Flensburg, Lorenz Rerup, also had an important role to play. He was a respected authority on minority relations and instrumental in convincing the Danish government of the need for the establishment of ECMI. The keynote speech by ECMI director Stefan Troebst at the opening of the European Centre for Minority Issues on 4 December 1996 gives a broad outline of the tasks assigned to ECMI by its Board and of the plans to realize them. Finally, the Act of Foundation is a document from 29 January 1998, signed by representatives of Denmark and Germany, which provides the legal framework for the establishment of the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) as a European institution.