ECMI Publications Database

#67: Paternalistic Versus Participation Oriented Minority Institutions in the Danish-German Border Region
Adrian Schaefer-Rolffs & Prof. Dr. Kai-Uwe Schnapp
Flensburg: European Centre for Minority Issues
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This paper aims to explain how Denmark and Germany face the task of ensuring minority protection and the preservation of cultural diversity by way of recognising the national minorities' needs for special attention. Both countries have installed different mechanisms that are designed to compensate minorities for their disadvantages as a group. Despite the fact that the equally well-developed structures on both sides of the border favour a compared analysis of the mechanisms in place, the disparity in the field of political participation receives particular attention in this paper. By way of analysing results from an online survey carried out in 2010, this paper shows how differently the minorities perceive the character of two special institutions for direct contact with political decision-makers. The Danish government and the state government of Schleswig-Holstein both introduced a contact person for the minorities within their area of responsibility. Our research has made interesting findings with regards to the composition of these institutions. It seems that the service offered by the geographically more distant Secretariat to the German Minority in Copenhagen is rated favourably, whereas the locally more present Commissioner for Minorities and culture of Schleswig-Holstein has been a disappointment to the Danish minority.

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