Director confirms stronger regional focus during his inaugural visit to the Minister President of Schleswig-Holstein and in front of the ECMI Executive Board

Photo: Staatskanzlei SH

Despite the restrictions caused by COVID-19, the ECMI continues to work on various projects and future strategic and research planning. A new strengthened research area of the Centre focusing on minority issues in the German-Danish border region has been one of the priorities of the new director. Until recently, the ECMI statutes did not allow the Centre to research minority issues in the region in which it is based. The statutes have been recently changed by the founders so that this new research initiative can be developed. 

The ECMI Director Vello Pettai reiterated the importance of the regional research focus during his inaugural visit to the Minister President of Schleswig-Holstein on 28 April in Kiel. "It was a delight to have my first official visit to the government of Schleswig-Holstein, which is one of our Founders and where the ECMI is based. The visit dovetailed with a new focus that the Centre wants to develop concerning German-Danish border region. We look forward to new opportunities with the local authorities in order to pursue these novel research aims,” said Pettai. The Centre has been cooperating with the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein on several international projects in recent years. The whole ECMI team is excited to continue this cooperation through this regional focus as well. 

The regional research focus was also a topic of the ECMI Executive Board meeting held on 29 April by video conference. The Board approved the stronger research focus on the German-Danish border region, not only in connection with this year’s commemoration of the 1920 German-Danish border plebiscite, but also more broadly, concerning the minority regime in the area. In addition to reviewing the ongoing activities of the Centre, the Board also approved a Response Document for the External Evaluation of the ECMI that took place in 2019. The Evaluation had put forth a number of recommendations for the Centre moving forward, including new thematic areas as well as organizational changes. The Board was able to report that several of the Evaluation’s recommendations had already been implemented since the Evaluation was handed over in October 2019. 

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