Minorities Blog

The ECMI Minorities Blog is a space for reflection and analysis of current issues, national or international, related to national, ethnic, and linguistic minorities. Blog posts published here may discuss relevant legislation and policies, flag issues of discrimination and inequality or outline other issues of relevance to minority communities. It is open to authors with a longstanding experience in research concerning minorities, as well as those who are at the beginning of their academic careers.

Guidelines for authors

Content of blog posts

Authors wishing to publish on the ECMI Minorities Blog are encouraged to bear in mind the following points:

  • The ECMI Minorities Blog is intended as a research blog, rather than an opinion or advocacy blog.
  • Posts should be based on research performed at academic standards and should be consistently referenced.
  • The readership of the ECMI Minorities Blog goes beyond academic audiences, and includes members of national minorities, journalists, and members of the public that take an interest in minority issues. As such, blog posts should be written in a non-specialist language, and items that might be obscure to the public should be explained either in the text or in the Endnotes.

Length of posts and referencing

  • The length of a blog post should be between 2,000 and 2,500 words. 
  • References should be inserted as hyperlink in the text. Those references that cannot be hyperlinked should be included in the Endnotes, using the APA style.
  • Explanations, clarifications etc. should be included in the Endnotes; however, for reasons of readability, we recommend keeping these to an absolute minimum.
  • The proposed blogpost should be accompanied by an abstract of max. 140 words summarising the main argument of the text.
  • Please include a biographical note of max. 100 words; should you wish to receive feedback directly from the readers, please indicate an email address where they can send their comments.
  • The ECMI distributes blogposts on a variety of social media channels. Should you wish to be tagged, please indicate the relevant personal or institutional social media accounts.

Submission of posts

Before submitting a post for publication on the ECMI Minorities Blog, please consult with the blog editors concerning the topic you are proposing and the timeframe for publication. Please send your enquiries to Dr. Sergiusz Bober bober@ecmi.de and Dr. Andreea Cârstocea carstocea@ecmi.de


The blog posts are prepared by the authors in their personal capacity. The views expressed in the blog posts are the sole responsibility of the authors concerned and do not necessarily reflect the view of the European Centre for Minority Issues.


Sergiusz Bober

Senior Researcher

Further Information

Felix Schulte

Senior Researcher

Further Information


National Minorities and the War in Ukraine. ECMI Miniblog Series

In view of the recent events in Ukraine, the editors decided to create a special section on the ECMI Minorities Blog dedicated to reflections on the situation and impact of war on national minorities in and outside of Ukraine.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Patterns of Immigrants’ Political Participation in Rural Italy

Giorgia Zogu

Democracy aims to alleviate social inequalities and provide equitable public decision-making for all. Ensuring immigrant citizens have equal political opportunities is vital for a stable democracy. This blog post explores how the openness of immigration laws impacts political participation, considering the influence of the local context on rural immigrant political participation. Focusing on three Italian regions, it employs a comparative study of nine rural municipalities. Political associations in rural areas differ from those in urban settings, emphasizing social networks, family ties, volunteerism, and religious affiliations. The article draws its data from a comprehensive approach, utilizing legal documents and semi-structured interviews with mayors, politically-active immigrants, associations, and clergymen. The article addresses the intricate dynamics of political participation in rural areas, shedding light on immigrants' engagement beyond conventional participation forms.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog.The Bicommunal Technical Committees in Cyprus: A Rare Example of ‘Engagement without Recognition’

Nasia Hadjigeorgiou

This post focuses on the bicommunal Technical Committees in Cyprus which, it argues, are rare instances of successful ‘Engagement without Recognition’ between a parent and a de facto state. They are, in other words, instances of cooperation between a non-internationally recognised entity and the internationally recognised state from which it attempted to secede. The post sheds light on the Technical Committees by explaining how and why they were established, and in what way they can be understood as examples of ‘Engagement without Recognition’. It offers examples of successful projects that were implemented by the Technical Committees and identifies lessons we can learn from their experiences to date, which can also be useful in other frozen conflict contexts around the world.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Indigenous Inequalities in Egalitarian Societies: The Case of the Sámi People in Norway and Sweden

Fabian Bergmann

Many Indigenous peoples live in firmly unequal societies and face substantial material disparities towards the ethnic majority populations. Yet, inequalities between ethnic groups are usually multidimensional and go beyond material status. But are they also present when economic inequality is absent? That is, what kind of inequalities do Indigenous peoples face in societies conventionally considered egalitarian? This blog post reports on new research about the situation of the Sámi people in Norway and Sweden. It indeed supports the proposition that the Sámi are on a material par with their non-Indigenous compatriots. Nonetheless, they are more likely to experience discrimination, and these experiences are strongly linked to how proficient Sámi are in their Indigenous languages and how frequently they use them. This shows that the Sámi face inequalities especially in the dimension of cultural status. Finally, the post points out potential further inequalities in the case of the Sámi that research has yet to address.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Ethnic Identity and Football in Mostar – A Clear Divide along the Old Front Line

Craig Willis

This blogpost addresses the question of how ethnic identities (and societal divisions) in the city of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, are expressed through football and considers how this dominates the city’s linguistic landscape. It is therefore embedded in the context of previous literature on sport and identity but also the discipline of sociolinguistics. The post discusses the prominence of street murals and graffiti relating to Mostar’s two football clubs, FK Velež Mostar and HŠK Zrinjski Mostar, outlining how the situation is very much territorially divided along the same geographical points of the ethnic conflict in the early 1990s. 

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Francophone, Francophile, and Gallo-Romance peripheries in Piedmont and the Aosta Valley

Mattia Bottino

The blog post discusses the linguistic and cultural peculiarities of Piedmont and the Aosta Valley, two regions that have historically straddled France and Italy. It provides a brief historical linguistic overview of the development of Gallo-Romance languages (French, Franco-Provençal, and Occitan) in these regions. The piece describes the Francophile and Francophone orientation of Piedmont throughout its history, as well as the belated introduction of Tuscan (Italian). It stresses the singularity of Piedmontese, and its close linguistic relation to neighbouring Gallo-Romance languages. Against this background, the text assesses the current state and vitality of Franco- and Gallo-Romance peripheries within the borders of Italy, and explains how such identities have evolved, been reshaped or become politicized. Primordialist and constructivist perspectives on national (and minority) identities are combined to better understand the development, decay, and reconfiguration of linguistic and cultural identities in Piedmont and the Aosta Valley.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. From Acquisition to Activation: How Language Planning Can Promote New Speakers’ Minority Language Use

Ruth Kircher & Mirjam Vellinga

New speakers (individuals acquiring minority languages outside the home, typically later on in life) can make important contributions to minority language revitalisation. However, this can only happen if they become active and frequent users of the minority languages they have learnt. In many contexts, this is not the case. Taking Frisian in Fryslân as a case study, this blog post examines new speakers’ activation (the process by which they become active and habitual minority language users) – focusing specifically on how this is affected by traditional minority language speakers’ behaviours. The findings highlight how the complex dynamics between traditional and new speakers can hinder the latter’s activation. The blog post discusses the implications of these findings, concluding that there is a need for prestige planning to ameliorate intergroup relations – and thereby foster new speakers’ activation and promote minority language revitalisation.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Indigenous Languages and Psychological Well-Being: Comparing Educational, Healthcare and Employment Opportunities in Greenland, Sápmi, and Scotland

Seira Duncan

The past several years have seen increased documentation of the association between indigenous language utilisation and psychological well-being. Scotland is the northernmost non-Arctic country and has been fostering ties with its northern counterparts in recent years; like Greenland and Sápmi, it has indigenous languages. This post compares educational, healthcare, and employment opportunities in these regions and analyses the wider psychological implications of indigenous language utilisation in these sectors. While there appears to be room for improvement in all sectors in the three regions, Greenland, Sápmi, and Scotland will likely benefit from strengthening cross-regional dialogues.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. New Jewish Approaches to Public Life in Turkey: The Case of Avlaremoz

Nesi Altaras

Founded in 2016, Avlaremoz began its life as an online publication created by a group of Jews and non-Jews from Turkey to educate the Turkish public about antisemitism and the Holocaust. The small platform presents a new Jewish approach for participating in public life in Turkey. This piece uses examples from Avlaremoz’s coverage of Holocaust education, queerness, language politics, and Armenian issues to clarify this novel politicisation of Jewish identity.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. National and Linguistic Minorities in the Context of Professional Football across Europe: Five Examples from Kin-State Situations

Craig Willis, Will Hughes & Sergiusz Bober

A strong aspect of civil society, football clubs are often a visible marker of identity and this can be especially so in regions with a distinct culture or language. In a follow-up blogpost to their piece on five football clubs in non-kin state settings, the authors expand to analyse five clubs from kin-state settings across Europe. Looking at the political landscape in which the clubs operate as well as the visible linguistic difference from the majority population, the blogpost offers a variety of examples ranging in their degrees of salience. The kin-state aspect brings in a third actor alongside the minority and majority population, with the extent to which the kin is actively involved being one of the differing variables identified. In addition, this blogpost also features extended conclusionary paragraphs which bring in the comparative dimension of kin-state/non-kin-state across the ten clubs analysed in the two blogposts.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Minority Language Media and TikTok: Are Broadcasters Showing They Are Still Relevant for Younger Audiences?

Craig Willis

Whilst younger audiences move away from traditional forms of media consumption, public broadcasters – including those in minority languages – have long been facing declining viewing figures in terms of linear television. At the same time, social media consumption habits are diverging along a generational gap – younger audiences favour TikTok and Instagram over Facebook or Twitter. This blogpost sheds light on one element of this, analysing the attempts of institutional actors – in this case minority language broadcasters – to reach different audience segments by creating content directly through TikTok. Concentrated focus is placed on the Welsh language broadcaster S4C, the Galician language broadcaster TVG and the Catalan language broadcaster TV3, with the conclusions pointing towards greater levels of success for their sub-brands which adopt a less-formal, non-institutionalised approach. The positive examples suggest minority language media are finding ways to adapt to contemporary challenges and that their role for younger generations was perhaps neglected too soon by some critics.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. The Cultural Appropriation of Flamenco: Views of Gitanos from Jerez de la Frontera

Marta Anzillotti Zamorano

With discussions surrounding cultural appropriation ongoing in numerous spheres including music, fashion, and language, this blogpost explores the ever-changing nature of culture through the first-hand accounts of Gitanos from Jerez de la Frontera. The presence of the Gitano minority in Jerez has historically had – and continues to have – a significant impact on the city. This is especially true regarding flamenco, an artform encompassing centuries of history and culture. In this blogpost, the author uses interviews and a survey conducted for her MA thesis, as well as two case studies (namely that of Lola Flores and Rosalía), to explore the various ways of approaching and contextualizing theoretical understandings of cultural appropriation.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Gagauzia’s Response to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Keith Harrington

This blog post examines how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has impacted the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia in southern Moldova. The author argues that the Moldovan government’s sharp condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its move toward the European Union has caused tensions with the Gagauz minority. Furthermore, the text highlights how since the beginning of the invasion, Gagauzia’s regional authorities, as well as the general population, have resisted efforts by the Moldovan government to limit Russian influence in the region. It also shows how dissatisfaction with the policies of the current government, combined with an economic crisis and a prolonged drought, have led to political infighting within Gagauzia, and the rise of certain pro-Russian figures who employ radical language reminiscent of the late-Soviet period.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. 50 Years of South Tyrolean Autonomy

Andrea Carlà

With its second Statute of Autonomy, the Italian province of South Tyrol is usually considered a model for resolving ethnic conflicts. In the light of the 50th anniversary of the Statute, this blogpost aims at discussing the current status of South Tyrol’s autonomy and measures to protect the province’s German and Ladin-speaking population. In particular, the analysis focuses on the effects of the second Statute of Autonomy on the South Tyrolean population over the past five decades and the relationships between the linguistic groups. In bringing together a variety of research conducted on South Tyrol, the author highlights both the successful results in terms of peaceful cohabitation as well the limits and problematic aspects that still persist.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. National and Linguistic Minorities in the Context of Professional Football across Europe: Five Examples from Non-kin State Situations.

Craig Willis, Will Hughes & Sergiusz Bober

Football clubs are often analysed by scholars as ‘imagined communities’, for no fan of any team will ever meet, or even be aware of most of their fellow supporters on an individual level. They are also simultaneously one of the most tribal phenomena of the twenty-first century, comparable to religion in terms of the complexity of rituals, their rhythm and overall organizational intricacies, yet equally inseparable from economics and politics. Whilst, superficially, the events of sporting fixtures carry little political significance, for many of Europe’s national and linguistic minorities football fandom takes on an extra dimension of identity – on an individual and collective scale, acting as a defining differentiation from the majority society. This blogpost analyses five clubs from non-kin state settings, with the intention to assess how different aspects of minority identities affect their fan bases, communication policies and other practices.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Romanians and Moldovans in Ukraine and their kin states’ engagement before and after the war – towards a triadic partnership for effective minority protection?

Sergiu Constantin

Ukraine recognizes Romanian and Moldovan as distinct minority languages, even though the official language of the Republic of Moldova is Romanian. This distinction between Romanian and Moldovan is not merely a symbolic matter, it has practical, negative consequences for members of the minority communities concerned. Since the 1990s, Ukrainian-Romanian relations have been affected by mutual distrust rooted in historical resentments, stereotypes, and prejudice at the level of both political elites and the general public. Moldova and Ukraine have experienced ups and downs in their bilateral relations due to the complex geopolitical context and growing Russian interference. The ongoing Russian war against Ukraine has had a strong impact on Moldova and Romania as well as on their kin minority communities in Ukraine. This war marks a turning point in history. It has caused tectonic shifts in global affairs, in the Euro-Atlantic community, and in national politics and interstate relations. Ukraine, Romania, and Moldova can turn the ongoing crisis into an opportunity to reset their (dysfunctional) bilateral relations. It is high time for a paradigm shift towards a new, enhanced triadic partnership which is able to ensure an effective system of minority protection.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. National Minority Media and Work of Minority Journalists in the Time of the War of Aggression against Ukraine

Kateryna Haertel

In this blog post, the author examines the specifics of the work of minority media and minority journalists during the first six months of the war of aggression against Ukraine. The text is based on the author’s interviews with representatives of different types of minority media outlets – printed, digital, as well as the public broadcaster – operating in different regions of Ukraine. The key findings indicate a tendency towards scarcer reporting about the daily lives of ethnic communities and a more vulnerable situation for minority reporters, many of whom have fled abroad, of all media outlets scrutinized. Moreover, a significant decrease in broadcasting in minority languages through the public broadcaster is identified in one of the multi-ethnic regions.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. How Moscow ‘Eliminates’ Its National Minorities in the War with Ukraine

Ihor Lossovskyi

As Russia is increasingly losing its military personnel in the war with Ukraine, the Kremlin is trying to make up for these losses in every possible way. Following a period of covert partial mobilization, since 21 September 2022 Russia has launched a partial mobilization; both involved disproportionately the male population from remote underdeveloped regions with concentrated populations of national minorities, particularly from the Far East, North Caucasus, Buryatia, Khakassia etc., as well as from the occupied areas of Georgia, Ukrainian Donbas, and Crimea. Conscription is much less common in Russia’s large economically and socially developed cities, where the majority of the population is ethnic Russian. The number of representatives of the poorest national minorities from remote regions of Russia who were injured or killed during the war disproportionately exceeds the respective share of ethnic Russians who have suffered the same fate. Beyond the economic reasons for the increased participation of minorities in the war, this disproportionality raises questions as to the intentions of Putin’s regime in sending these populations - rather than the Russian majority – to the frontlines.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Could a new level of digitalisation offer minority language media outlets a strategy to attract a wider audience?

Craig Willis

Minority language media (MLM) faced significant disruption resulting from the digitalisation processes which brought in increased competition and challenged traditional business models. With a new wave of technological advancements in auto-translation, however, there may be opportunities to grow audience within different speaker groups. This blogpost considers the model of Scottish Gaelic broadcaster BBC Alba, which is sustained by a two-pronged strategy of content for speakers and non-speakers, concluding that other outlets, including newspapers, could utilise auto-translation tools to grow their audience as readership habits evolve. Caution is also expressed towards the possibility of majority-language first practices creeping in out of convenience, serving as a reminder that regulation and public funding must ensure that minority language content is continuously produced, and that the current wave of digitalisation is advantageous for MLM.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Is Uzbekistan Not Ready to Let It Go? Unrest in Karakalpakstan

Aziz Berdiqulov

In July 2022, unprecedented demonstrations took place in Uzbekistan’s Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan. These demonstrations followed proposed constitutional amendments which would remove Karakalpakstan’s right to freely secede from the Uzbek Republic. Thousands of Karakalpaks joined together for peaceful demonstrations to protest against the changes concerning their homeland. Tashkent reacted in line with what seems to have become a Central Asian formula: military troops were sent to suppress the demonstrations, which led to multiple deaths and injuries; the Internet was shut down; curfews were introduced; and checkpoints were set up around the region. The President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, came to Karakalpakstan to promise that its status would not change as the proposed amendments would be removed. The probability of Karakalpakstan seceding through a referendum remains low: it is the poorest region of Uzbekistan, and Karakalpaks are not even the majority of the population there. However, the status and the right to secede seem to play a significant symbolic role to the Karakalpak people, as their quick and coordinated mobilisation has shown.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Events in Tajikistan’s Pamir – A Vicious Cycle of Unresolved Conflicts?

Aziz Berdiqulov

In 2022, Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Region saw several demonstrations of the non-recognised Pamiri minority. The government, unsurprisingly, reacted with force: the internet was shut down in the whole region, many local leaders were detained and persecuted. This is not the first time that confrontation between Pamiris and governmental representatives appointed by the capital Dushanbe takes place, with similar events happening in 2012, 2014, and 2021. In this blog piece ECMI Researcher Aziz Berdiqulov looks more closely at those events, puts them in a long-term perspective, and offers a possible way out of the fatal cycle of tensions.   

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Russian Migrants in Central Asia – An ambiguous Reception

Aziz Berdiqulov

One of the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the imposition of western economic sanctions on the country and further autocratization of its political system. Both factors have resulted in a significant outward migration of Russian citizens, with Central Asia being one of frequent destinations due to the geographic proximity and widespread use of Russian language. At the same time, for many Russians the region remains a terra incognita, perceived primarily through the presence of the Central Asian labour migrants. In this blog piece, ECMI Researcher Aziz Berdiqulov examines this recent phenomenon by discussing specifically the cases of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan as receiving countries, through the prism of different initiatives addressing the influx, social attitudes concerning the newcomers and reactions of the Russian minorities present there. Furthermore, the author tries to assess whether the new situation has the potential for changing the hitherto pattern of relations between Russians and Central Asians.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Minorities and the War in Ukraine: Navigating the ‘Perfect Storm’?

Vello Pettai

Where do European minority issues stand following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? What are the dimensions of this crisis that pose a particular challenge to the European minority rights regime? Does the renewed sense of purpose among liberal democracies augur a revitalization of minority issues or continued business as usual? The ECMI’s Director Vello Pettai looks at the stakes involved with the war in Ukraine. Already before the crisis, minority issues were operating in an increasingly crowded landscape of societal concerns: populism, climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic. Russia’s aggression has brought together a further cocktail involving autocratization, kin-state activism and geopolitical disorder. Key institutions governing and promoting the European minority rights regime will need to be regrouped before a new impulse for minority issues can be found.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Roma as Tokens? Reference Groups and the Practice of Deciding First and Informing After

Solvor Mjøberg Lauritzen, Jan Selling & Marko Stenroos

In Sweden, the Roma have the right to contribute to and influence policy measures that affect them. Authorities often fulfil their obligation to include Roma through the so-called reference groups. The authors see several problems with this model. First, the reference groups are deprived of agency, as they are often not involved at early stages in the planning, but rather informed and consulted on ready-made decisions. Second, an emphasis is placed on “Romani organisations” when nominating and selecting representatives, which encourages rapid creation of new organisations with few members and activities, little transparency, and affected by gate-keeping as the power is kept between a few individuals. Last, the emphasis on linguistic and cultural competence deprives many individuals of influence and the possibility of being heard, especially those who have been subject to harsh assimilation

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. The Response of International Organisations and Roma Civil Society to the Plight of Ukraine's Roma Refugees in Europe

Olha Sribniak

The Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine has triggered the unprecedent human displacement crisis with more than 13 million individuals uprooted from their homes. It is estimated that among 5,7 million people who fled abroad, at least 100,000 belong to Roma minority – one of the most vulnerable and marginalized minority groups. In this blog entry, the author examines how the international institutions and Roma civil society organisations stepped in to support Roma refugees and combat discrimination in their accessing rights and resources granted to those fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Ukraine’s National Minorities Trapped by the War: The Cases of Ethnic Romanians and Hungarians

Kateryna Haertel

In this blog entry, the author continues looking into the effects of the war against Ukraine on its minority communities, by highlighting the cases of two minorities with traditional residence areas in the western part of the country - ethnic Romanians and Hungarians. The author concludes that both minorities, either through the engagement of their civil society, religious, and educational institutions or individuals, have become a well-integrated part of an overall civil society architecture in western Ukraine emerging during the war. Moreover, all-Ukrainian civic identity features prominently in relation to both communities. 

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Indigenous Peoples and National Minorities in the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine

Mykhailo Drapak

On February 24, 2022, Russia launched an offensive against Ukraine simultaneously in the north, east and south of the country. Thus, Russian troops expanded their temporary occupation of Ukrainian territories, which began in 2014. Millions of Ukrainian citizens, including indigenous peoples and national minorities, found themselves in the temporarily occupied territories. Residents of those regions are suffering from lack of food, utilities and medical care, and live under the pressure of the Russian troops. Their opposition to the invasion is met with detentions, intimidation, torture and executions. Under such conditions, the usual policy of diversity management is reduced to the struggle for the life of every citizen. This blog piece is dedicated to the current situation in the temporarily occupied regions of Ukraine and pays particular attention to the communities of indigenous peoples and national minorities.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Disinformation, Digital Nationalism and the Hungarian Minority in Ukraine

Krisztina Lajosi

The Hungarian minority in Ukraine living mainly in the region of Transcarpathia (Zakarpattia Oblast) has not yet been directly exposed to the horrors of the war. However, roughly since 2014, it has been targeted by online propaganda and disinformation serving the interests of the Kremlin in both Russian and Hungarian media. Several studies have demonstrated how the right-wing media supporting the Hungarian government have come increasingly under Russian influence either directly by translating pieces from Russian media outlets, or indirectly by channeling the talking points of the Kremlin. This digital propaganda has merged with the offline diffusion of ideologies supporting the illiberal democracy that Viktor Orbán declared official policy in Hungary in his infamous speech from 2014. This blog post explores the intricate web of nationalisms that influence  political opinions among the Hungarian minority in Ukraine.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Ukraine’s National Minorities Trapped by the War: the Cases of Ethnic Greeks and Bulgarians

Kateryna Haertel

As the war against Ukraine erupted on 24 February 2022, national minorities found themselves among its first victims, both as individuals and communities characterized by unique knowledge, language, and culture. This piece looks into the immediate effects of the war on ethnic Greeks and Bulgarians, and potential lessons learned for the state of Ukraine and its minorities from these tragic events. Whereas ethnic Greeks strive for physical survival in a besieged city of Mariupol and its surroundings, ethnic Bulgarians have mobilized in support of refugees. Those situations highlight the role of minority community leaders in voicing support for the Ukrainian authorities and as facilitators of aid from kin-states, as well as turn minority civil society organizations (CSOs) into agents of change of nation-wide significance.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. How to Lose (the Almost) Guaranteed Representation – Recent Developments concerning Roma Parliamentary Representation in Hungary

As the Roma National Self-Government in Hungary failed to draw up its electoral list for the 2022 elections, it seemed that nobody would represent the most populous minority in Parliament; at least not within the framework of the preferential mandate system. This blog post covers the circumstances and developments behind this paradoxical situation and explains how uncompromising political wings have caused this outcome. The incumbent Roma minority advocate in Parliament and his allies worked hard to prevent anyone else from obtaining the first position on the electoral list and thus becoming a member of parliament, while the other political wing within the Roma self-government ruled out the re-election of the sitting advocate. As the author points out, however, the main problem lies in the very nature of the system, namely in the lack of real internal competition. Interestingly, as recent developments show, other Roma politicians may get elected on the party lists of both sides of the political spectrum.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. German Minority as Hostage and Victim of Populist Politics in Poland

On 4 February 2022, the Polish Journal of Laws published a new ordinance of the Minister of Education and Science, implementing cuts in the funding of education of German as a minority language. Consequently, the hourly length of such lessons will be significantly reduced. This regulation applies exclusively to the German minority, and the official motive for introducing discriminatory measures is to improve the situation of Polish diaspora in Germany. This is the first time after 1989 when the Polish state authorities introduce a law limiting the rights of Poland’s citizens belonging to a national minority (in this situation children), as a retaliation for the alleged situation of a kin-community elsewhere. Importantly, the adopted regulations are not only discriminatory towards one of the minorities; their implementation may in fact contribute to the dysfunctionality of the entire minority education system in Poland. This is also an obvious violation of the constitutional principle of equality before the law, the right of minorities to ‘maintain and develop their own language’, international standards of minority rights protection, as well as a threat to the very functioning of human rights protection mechanisms in the country.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. National Minorities and the Future of Europe

The Conference on the Future of Europe, which was finally launched on 9 May 2021, has opened “a new space for debate with citizens to address Europe’s challenges and priorities”. The initiative uses three channels for citizens’ participation: the Multilingual digital platform, European Citizens’ Panels, and Conference Plenary. Content-wise it is grounded on the indicative list of nine topics covering wide range of areas from climate change to sports. This blog post draws attention to the importance of involving national minorities in the process, both regarding participation and issues covered. The Conference should strive to reach out to various population groups, including the ones in minority or marginalized position. Moreover, the Conference could serve as a good opportunity to reconsider the EU’s position with regard to the protection of national minorities: in a complex and increasingly diverse Europe, the EU has to take responsibility and search for innovative models of diversity management, including the protection of national minorities. Provided that it leads to some tangible action, the Conference might be a valuable step forward.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. On Hyphenated Identities

In the spring of 2021, the Danish Borderland Association published the book Danskerne findes i mange modeller – portrætter af 15 unge med bindestregsidentitet by Marlene Fenger-Grøndahl. The book consists of fifteen interviews with young so-called cultural ambassadors of the Borderland Association, as well as essays on the history of the Danish-German borderland and the concept of a hyphenated identity that the young respondents refer to. In minority research, the concept of a hyphenated identity is both used and contested. However, the interviews underline that the concept can serve as an important backdrop for the empowerment of young people with minority identities. This ECMI Minorites Blog entry is written by Garbi Schmidt, professor of Cultural Encounters at Roskilde University. 

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Native Others: What Implications Does the Law on Indigenous Peoples Have for Ukraine’s Indigenous Population?

In July 2021, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted a Law on Indigenous Peoples. It provides a framework for the protection of the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Crimean Peninsula, namely Crimean Tatars, Karaites and Krymchaks, and excludes Mariupol Greeks as a minority potentially qualifying for the status of the fourth indigenous group residing outside of Crimea. What was the general context of the adoption of the Law? What rights does it envisage? And what could the Law potentially bring to the recognized indigenous peoples? This blog post attempts to answer these questions.

Read more
Less equal than others: national minorities and the overlooked challenge of socio-economic inequalities


ECMI Minorities Blog. Less equal than others: National minorities and the overlooked challenge of socio-economic inequalities

Socio-economic inequalities are part and parcel of people’s everyday life in any society; yet for people who belong to ethnic, linguistic, religious, or cultural communities, these inequalities tend to be markedly greater than for others. Quite often, national minority communities face higher hurdles in accessing employment and gaining incomes on a par with those of the majority, and have lower access to adequate healthcare services, housing, education, or public services in general. And yet, a conversation about the socio-economic inequalities facing minority communities, the specific challenges they face, or the ways in which their participation might be improved is largely absent.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Why Scottish and Welsh Speakers Will Miss European Structural Funds

In this blog piece Craig Willis investigates the contribution of European Structural and Investment Funds projects in the period between 2007-2013 and 2014-2020, in order to ascertain direct and indirect links to the four Celtic languages, following the separation of cultural funds from the ESIF into Creative Europe and Erasmus Plus from 2007. He shows that, given that the speakers of such languages often reside in economically peripheral areas (at least in higher percentage terms), their livelihoods and everyday culture in the traditional speaking areas (even for non-speakers) are affected by availability of structural funds.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Identity Disputes and the EU Enlargement: The Case of North Macedonia

The Bulgarian veto on the EU membership negotiations with North Macedonia in 2020 has once again brought to attention the identity dispute between the two nations and the implications for the accession process. At the core of the dispute lies a rather static understanding of the nation: the fact that nation is a dynamic phenomenon is almost fully ignored in the political discourse, at least on the Bulgarian side. However, bringing identity disputes and the question of national minorities’ protection to the fore is an attempt to divert the public’s attention from state weakness and the reasons behind it, such as state capture, while the EU accession process gets instrumentalized once more.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Unable to Stay, Nowhere to Go: The Hidden Reality of LGBTIQ Homelessness in the European Union

June Pride Month has been one of the most celebrated dates worldwide over the past years. From 1969 onwards, LGBTIQ minorities have taken over the streets across the world to make their voices and claims heard, and to fight for full equality. Although many achievements have been made since then, important gaps still remain to be addressed when it comes to LGBTIQ rights in the European Union. This blog post sheds light on the hidden issue of LGBTIQ homelessness and looks at how the political environment in the EU during recent years has further impacted already vulnerable sexual and gender minorities.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Hate to the Extreme(s): The Distorted Uses of Religion and Culture in Europe

We live in unsettled and challenging times: apart from the unprecedented situation that the pandemic is imposing on humanity, we are at the same time struggling with manifestations of extreme hate in multiple settings, though not unrelated ones. This post explores how two, very different at the outset, manifestations of extreme hate, namely far—right and Islamist extremism, may be relying and reinforcing each other.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Armenia-Azerbaijan at War and New Uncertainties for the Minorities of Nagorno-Karabakh

Fresh violence broke out in the Nagorno-Karabakh region on 27 September this year with drastic consequences. Notwithstanding exchange of territories, the future of Armenians and Azeri people of Karabakh remains uncertain with regards to their rights and who will guarantee them. We analyse the reasons alongside its protracted instability.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. The Impact of COVID-19 on Roma Communities in Non-EU Countries in Eastern Europe

The ECMI and the University of Leicester implemented the joint research  project ‘Marginality on the Margins of Europe – The Impact of COVID-19 on Roma Communities in Non-EU Countries in Eastern Europe’. In this blog piece, authors present preliminary findings from the research, which show disproportionate negative impact of COVID-19 on Roma communities in all major areas of life (education, healthcare, employment, and housing) throughout the seven countries analysed.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. A silent response from Central Asia about human- and minority rights violations in Xinjiang

Concerns about large-scale human and minority rights violations the Chinese state is continuously inflicting on the Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups are reported on almost daily bases across the world. Despite such developments, Central Asian states prefer to maintain positive relations with China, instead of confronting it over the human- and minority rights situation in Xinjiang. This blog piece aims to answer what the reasons behind their silent response are.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Securitising the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact on democracy and minorities.

Months into the pandemic, citizens have been disappointed globally about government responses and handling of the disease that, in countries like the USA or Brazil, have led to a loss of tens of thousands of human lives. In a situation where states fail to protect and support their citizens or exhibit a lack of commitment to do so, we need to ask a simple question: Has the pandemic become a human security issue? This analysis goes against a backdrop of the observation that COVID-19 has already emerged as a major national security threat, with an impact on international security. The crisis is also shifting how the transatlantic partners think about security and pushes a search for the right kind of response at the institutional level to this new challenge. All security responses are inextricably linked, but it is still questionable whether they can mitigate effects of the pandemic on a population, especially on the most vulnerable. 

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Resolving Minority Language Disputes: A New Approach to Language Rights in Northern Ireland?

In diverse, post-conflict societies, the significance of language can reach far beyond heritage, identity, and culture. In Northern Ireland, a three-year political deadlock which paralysed the devolved Executive until an agreement, New Decade New Approach, was reached in January 2020, provides a clear example of what can happen when language becomes highly politicised. This blog piece looks at how language rights became a core point of contention in Northern Irish politics, what elements converged to make cross-party consensus possible, and how policy can support a much-needed new approach towards minority language rights.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Pandemics of Exclusion: The Scapegoating of the Roma in Romania

This blog post addresses the scapegoating of the Roma community in Romania during the Covid-19 pandemic, whereby this national minority is being directly blamed for the reckless spreading of the corona virus among the general population. After outlining some of the underlying psychological and psychosocial mechanisms of scapegoating, this piece argues that this instance of scapegoating is part of a wider phenomenon whereby this national minority has been consistently blamed for countless of the Romanian society’s ills. The conclusion of the blog post is that this constant scapegoating of the Roma community is constitutive of power strategies meant to uphold existing hierarchies, which underpin and reproduce the marginalisation of the Roma community.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. The Spanish Roma community in the time of coronavirus. A narrative perspective.

The idea of the present blog piece is to provide a reader with a snapshot of the narratives concerning the Spanish Roma community produced during the coronavirus pandemic in Spain. Sources analysed in this piece allow a claim that conspiracy theories and anti-Roma stereotypes are not absent in coronavirus-hit Spain. Such narratives are produced mostly spontaneously by prejudiced individuals, while in certain cases also the mainstream media are contributing to the promotion of the antigypsyist views. 

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Corona or Minority Crises?

The Corona Crisis affects us all. Almost silently the virus reached Europe a few weeks ago and today it is the most discussed topic in the media and in our society. Many questions have been raised: “How can I get to work?”, “What consequences does the virus have for my children and their schooling?” or “Is it still reasonable to visit my parents/ grandparents?” Not to mention the many pressing economic questions concerning the future of jobs and the security of livelihoods. One question, however, also shouldn’t be neglected: "What has been the effect of the corona crisis on minorities?"

This blog represents a collective effort by the staff at the ECMI to bring together a variety of information and observations as to how corona is impacting on minority lives, minority policies, cultural diversity and social harmony. 

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. The Symbolic Power of Place Names: Why having multilingual signs can be challenging?

The recently published Fifth Opinion on Denmark by the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) attracted remarkable attention in the Danish media and in the border region because it again pointed out the lack of bilingual signs in the four municipalities in Southern Jutland. Among four recommendations for immediate action, the Advisory Committee has urged the authorities to “create an environment conducive to the display of bilingual signs at the entrance of the four municipalities traditionally inhabited by a substantial number of persons belonging to the German minority”. The problem (absence) of bilingual signs is persistent in the Danish case, and interestingly enough it appears to be a major unresolved issue with regards to the protection of the German minority in Denmark.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. A post-election update on the Brexit implications for Celtic Languages in the UK

Amongst all the Brexit noise there has been limited scrutiny on specific impacts, including from the angle of traditional native minority languages. This article aims to highlight potential future implications on Celtic languages that Brexit could have on themes related to: legal instruments, funding opportunities, regional economic impact, pan-European cooperation opportunities, and independence movements. In this, particular focus is given to potential short and long term implications of what still remains a hypothetical unknown phenomenon.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Towards Evidence-Based Minority Policy: Processing of Ethnic Data and Monitoring the Quality of National Minority Protection

Collection of ethnic data is a tool and not a goal. It should be part of a systematic and carefully considered process throughout which the crucial questions on “what type of data or ethnicity and/or race are processed, using which definitions and for which purposes are they collected” are clarified.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Why the States Fail to Secure Their Minorities: Securitisation and Minority Rights

Sharing spaces in diverse societies and creating fair policies to manage diversity is not always a smooth process, and significant presence of the minorities more often than not leads to some form of insecurity. A notion that minorities pose a threat to the society and social order is used as an excuse by the governments to turn against them, often employing different forms of violence.

Read more


ECMI Minorities Blog. Regulating Hate Speech Online for Minorities: “Regulate First, Ask Questions Later”?

Read the first ECMI Minorities Blogpost on Hate Speach regulation, written by ECMI Senior Researcher Dr. Topidi.

Read more

ECMI Founders