Letter from Kurt Hamer, Representative for Minorities and Borderlands Issues, to the Minister President of Schleswig-Holstein

Mr. Björn Engholm, Minister President of the State of Schleswig-Holstein, Member of the State Parliament
Düsternbrooker Weg
D-2300 Kiel 1

Mr. Kresten Philipsen,
County Mayor of the County of Southem Jutland
Skelbækvej 2
DK-6200 Aabenraa

Establishment of a "European Centre for Minority Issues

Dear Minister President,
Dear County Mayor,

With the enclosed memorandum I suggest that a "European Centre for Minority Issues" should be established in the German-Danish borderlands.

The centre, which shall be an internationally recognized, academic institution, shall be financed by the State of Schleswig-Holstein and the County of Southem Jutland. As a cross-border project it shall be financed by the EC.

Alternatively, it must be examined whether it is possible, in connection with the Council of Europe, for the centre to be sponsored by the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE). The CSCE also deals with minority issues, most recently at the Copenhagen Meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension of the CSCE.

I am convinced that a resolution to the problems of the minorities in Europe is essential for peace on this continent. However, our knowledge of the minorities and of the reasons for their problems is not sufficient for us as a base for current political decision-making.

The academic community may contribute to fill this gap. But in Europe there is no central, academic institution that deals with the investigation into and documentation of the problems of minorities in a European context.

The main task of the "European Centre for Minority Issues" (ECMI) suggested by me should be inter-European conflict research, the objective of which should be to define the reasons for the problems of minorities and to provide an empirical basis for their resolution.

In order to make possible scientific events such as colloquia, symposia and seminars on issues relating to minorities, an academy should be affiliated to ECMI.

The borderlands of Schleswig-Southern Jutland would provide an ideal location for the institution as this area has provided model examples of how the problems of minorities can be solved. Here, there is an excellent climate for impartial and independent international, academic work.

Before a final decision is made, I think it is necessary to consult a committee of experts and to form an "ECMI working party" consisting of members from the County of Southern Jutland and from Schleswig-Holstein. At the same time, political and financial project backing must be obtained from Copenhagen, Bonn and Brussels and from the CSCE in connection with the Council of Europe.

Dear Minister President, dear County Mayor, - I am sure that the first political assessment of my proposal will convince you that a "European Centre for Minority Issues", with its international reputation, will be of absolute, great benefit to our borderlands. I therefore ask you please to give the points mentioned in the enclosed memorandum thorough and sympathetic consideration.

Yours sincerely

Due to the death of Kurt Hamer the letter was never sent.

Kurt Hamer

ECMI founders:

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