Schleswig-Holstein Representatives Visited the ECMI
The important role of the ECMI in the German-Danish border region was acknowledged by being selected as one of the few institutions visited by the President of the Schleswig-Holstein Parliament Klaus Schlie and the Minister-President Daniel Günther on their tour in the border region. The two-day summer trip was held due to the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the plebescites which led to the border demarcation between Germany and Denmark
The Schleswig-Holstein delegation consisting of President of the Schleswig-Holstein Parliament Klaus Schlie, the Minister-President Daniel Günther, the Minister of European Affaires Claus Christian Claussen and the Minority Commissioner Johannes Callsen visited the ECMI Headquarters on 20 August. They were welcomed by the Chairman of the ECMI Executive Board Jørgen Kühl and the Director Vello Pettai, who presented the work of the Centre and its research agenda in the region. They emphasised that for many years, the European Centre for Minority Issues has kept a foot planted solidly in the German-Danish border region, since it sees itself as a critical intermediary in the exchange of information about minority issues – inwardly from other comparative European cases, but also outwardly to the rest of the world. During the meeting, the ECMI presented to the delegation the initial concept note on “Minority Change in an Integrated Region". The concept note will be part of an integrated research agenda the Agenda plans to take forth in late 2020 and early 2021.
The following discussion evolved mostly around the nature of the German-Danish minority model and the role of the ECMI in researching and exporting the elements of the model to other regions in Europe. The ECMI has undertaken a number of independent initiatives such as a yearly Roundtable for minority groups in the region or publications on regional socio-economic development. It has brought minority representatives from other countries to the Schleswig-Holstein area for study-visits, and it has also helped minority representatives from here to visit other minority communities in Europe. The ECMI presented a need to strengthen the research of current minority affairs in the border region and focus on the new roles that minorities are playing in the Sønderjylland-Schleswig area now that the region has become so much more integrated over the last 15 years. Moreover, related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the delegation and the ECMI representatives discussed the need to analyse the vulnerabilities for minorities when external shocks (such as the pandemic) ensue and profoundly upset cross-border life.
The Schleswig-Holstein delagation was very impressed by the work of the Centre and its international network. They also assured the representatives of the ECMI that they would support the centre in its endeavours at European level.
Read more (in German) about the visit and the joint tour of the Minister President and the President of the Schleswig-Holstein Parliament here: