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In European Centre for Minority Issues’ (ECMI) Working Paper #76, Dr Detlev Rein deals with the possibilities in Germany of granting public legal status to national minorities. The title translates approximately to Granting the status of public corporation to national minorities.
ECMI Working Paper #76 contains an analysis of the legal conditions and forms of organization inGermany that are available for national minorities, when they wish to participate effectively in “…cultural, social and economic life and in public affairs”. Especially, the author deals with minorities which even in their areas of settlement are in minority.
The text string in quotes is from the article 15 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities that forms the relevant background to the research of the paper.
The idea of Sorbs of Germany to form a public corporation (öffentlich-rechtliche Personalkörperschaft) of those belonging to the Sorbian minority lead to experiences that are discussed in detail. Moreover, the text is complemented with examples from throughout Europe and Germany in particular.
In addition, Dr Rein investigates other civil and public corporation forms of organization (Vereine, Stiftungen, GmbHs, parties) and other approaches (voting rights, Verbandsklage). The principle of “privacy of confession” concerning the belonging to a minority proves to be of particular importance for the choice of legal form. Solutions in the sense of Cultural Autonomy or Functional Collective Autonomy are shown.
The analysis of the Paper is closely related to the projects, research and conferences dealing with Non-Territorial Autonomy (NTA) of ECMI. The NTA research is embedded in the ECMI Justice & Governance Cluster.
Dr Detlev Rein is a substitute member of the ECMI Executive Board, an independent researcher, and former Principal of the Federal German Ministry of Interior.