What Does the Future Hold for the Socio-Economic Participation of National Minorities?

15 February 2024

Hosted by Andreea Cârstocea

The ability of national minorities to effectively participate in the social and economic life of the country where they reside is a crucial condition for reducing inequalities and achieving social cohesion. In practice, however, national minorities are often faced with a higher likelihood of poorer educational outcomes, a lower health status, of living in poorer housing conditions, and generally having a lower socio-economic status than majority populations. With more than 400 national minority groups across Europe – amounting to more than 100 million people belonging to autochthonous minorities – the scope of this issue is hard to overstate.

Against this backdrop, the 2023 OSCE Thematic Recommendations on the Participation of National Minorities in Social and Economic Life emerge as a particularly relevant and timely intervention. These recommendations address the potential for conflict arising from the socio-economic disparities faced by national minorities in Europe. They emphasize the necessity for immediate and structured strategies to mitigate these inequalities.

This online talk provided a unique platform for the initiatiors and drafters of the Thematic Recommendations to look into the role played by the OSCE HCNM in leading this initiative. They explored the key policy areas encompassed by the Recommendations and contemplated their likely impact in promoting greater socio-economic integration of national minorities.


Jennifer Jackson-Preece

Jennifer Jackson-Preece is Associate Professor of Nationalism at the London School of Economics and Political Science, with a joint appointment in the European Institute and the Department of International Relations. Dr Jackson-Preece is an expert on problems and practices of nationalism, human and minority rights, and conflict prevention. She has published extensively on these topics in books, journals and blogs. Dr Jackson-Preece has an established track record as a policy advisor to governments, international organisations and NGOs. She previously cooperated with the OSCE HCNM  on the  Ljubljana Guidelines on Integration of Diverse Societies (2012), the Graz Recommendations on Access to Justice for National Minorities (2017) and the Tallinn Guidelines on National Minorities and the Media in the Digital Age (2019). Dr Jackson-Preece currently chairs the ECMI Advisory Council.


Elzbieta Kuzborska-Pacha

Since 2018, Elzbieta Kuzborska-Pacha has been working as a Senior Legal Adviser to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) High Commissioner on National Minorities. Prior to this, she served as a diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Poland from 2015 to 2022. Between 2009 and 2015, she was a Political Expert at the Embassy of Poland in Vilnius, and from 2011 to 2015, she also lectured at the Vilnius Branch of the University of Białystok. Earlier, she held the position of Senior Officer at the MFA of Lithuania from 2007 to 2008.

Elzbieta is an alumnus of the Gdańsk University in Poland, where she completed her master's degree in Law and Administration, focusing her thesis on 'Humanitarian Intervention in East Timor'. She pursued her doctoral research on National Minorities in Lithuania and defended her habilitation (post-doctoral thesis) titled 'Legal Protection of National Minorities in the Baltic States' in 2021 at the Faculty of Law and Administration, University of Łódź, Poland.

As an author, Elzbieta has published extensively and contributed to the discourse on national minorities and human rights, including gender equality. Her work with various NGOs and international entities has established her as a recognized human rights expert.

Fernand de Varennes

Fernand de Varennes is Adjunct Professor in Human Rights at the National University of Ireland-Galway, as well as Visiting Professor at the Université catholique de Lyon (France) and of the University of Sarajevo (Bosnia-Hercegovina). He also held between August 2017 and November 2024 the mandate of United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues. He is renown as one of the world’s leading experts on the international human rights of minorities, issues surrounding languages, and the prevention of ethnic conflicts. He has been awarded prizes from Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and Poland and has some 300 publications in more than 30 languages.

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