European Standards

By “standards” we mean the global regime of minority protection pertaining to Europe spanning from the highest level of international standard-setting to the local statutes and policies put in place in regions where minorities live. The most relevant international standards include but are not excluded to:

• United Nations Charter (1945)

• Convention of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime and Genocide (1948) • European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1950)

• ILO Convention No. 107 concerning the Protection and Integration of Indigenous and Other Tribal and Semi-Tribal Populations in Independent Countries (1957)

• UN International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (1966)

• UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) • UN International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (1966)

• European Charter of Local Self-government (1985)

• ILO Convention No. 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples (1989)

• CSCE Charter for a New Europe (1990)

• European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages (1992)

• Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of January (1995)

• EU Pact on Stability in Europe (1995)

• European Social Charter (revised) (1996)

• European Convention on Nationality (1997)

• EU Stability Pact for South East Europe (1999)

• European Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms (2000)

• UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005)

• Treaty of Lisbon (2007)

Included in hard law standards is also relevant case law emanating from the Permanent Court of International Justice, the International Court of Justice, the European Commission and Court of Human Rights as well as the European Court of Justice.

Minority standards increasingly include the so-called “soft law” instruments that international organizations and governments adopt on the basis of moral commitment to protecting minorities. Standards in the ECMI environment therefore also include documents on minority protection and non-discrimination issued by the UNESCO, the European Parliament and the Commission, the European Council of the EU, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, Parliamentary Assembly and the Venice Commission, the OSCE’s Assembly as well as opinions issued by the EU’s Committee of the Regions, the Council of Europe’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe and the Central European Initiative. Particular strong moral value has been attached to the criteria issued by European Council at Copenhagen in 1993, the so-called Copenhagen Criteria.

Other important soft law documents are the Thematic Recommendations and Guidelines issued by the OSCE’s High Commissioner on National Minorities:

• Bolzano/Bozen Recommendations on National Minorities in Inter-State Relations (2008)

• Recommendations on Policing in Multi-Ethnic Societies (2006)

• Guidelines on the use of Minority Languages in the Broadcast Media (2003)

• Lund Recommendations (1999)

• Oslo Recommendations (1998)

• The Hague Recommendations (1996)

Finally, there are numerous opinions issued by the relevant committees, such as the UN Human Rights Committee, the UN Working Group on Minorities as well as on Indigenous Populations, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and the Advisory Committee to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. Increasingly important are also the Thematic Commentaries issued by the Advisory Committee to the Framework Convention:

• Commentary on Education (2006)

• Commentary on Participation (2008)

Whether minority standards are adopted at the international, national or local level, they are often defined on the basis of political and social compromises. This means that optimal norms are seldom achieved, and legal text may not be as clear and directional as could be desired. Explanatory reports to the legal documents relieve some of this problem, but may not provide all answers thus leaving space for interpretation in the implementation phase. Divergent views of how to interpret provisions as well as differences as to the general interpretation of international documents into domestic law therefore render minority standards vulnerable to varied implementation or no implementation at all. The fundamental aim of the ECMI’s work is therefore to investigate how minority standards are implemented and operationalized.

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The ECMI Synergy Wheel

Figure 1

Read more on the The ECMI Approach (pdf)

Evaluation Reports 2012

The ECMI Approach is highly reflected in the work of the regional representation offices of ECMI. Below you find the Evaluation Reports 2012 for the two ECMI Offices:

ECMI Kosovo

ECMI Caucasus

ECMI founders:

The German Federal GovernmentThe German
Federal Government
The Danish GovernmentThe Danish
The Federal State Schleswig-HolsteinThe Federal State