Non-Territorial Autonomy Arrangements

Participation is one of the core pillars of minority protection. It not only underpins the preservation of minority identity, but also secures integration of a wider society. There are various channels for minority participation, with autonomy arrangements being one of them. Moreover, autonomy as a concept is perceived as a valuable tool for (internal) self-determination of minority groups that can ease sovereignty claims and prevent the risk of never-ending redrawing of state borders along ethnic lines. In the past decade(s), the concept of non-territorial minority autonomy (NTA) has gained renewed attention in the academic literature, as a potentially effective means for decoupling ethnicity and territory, for addressing the need of minorities for internal self-determination, and, at the same time, preserving the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the state, thus keeping the dominant paradigm of the “nation state” intact. Although the developed theoretical model(s) appear tempting as solutions for some challenging minority situations throughout Europe, the practical effects of NTA arrangements available in Europe appear to be rather limited. However, this is not a clear-cut statement, since the empirical research on the performance, effectiveness, and impact of the existing NTA arrangements in Europe is scarce. Against this background, the Justice and Governance cluster is engaged in developing a set of indicators and monitoring methodology for an evidence-based assessment of NTA institutions.


  • ENTAN (The European Non-Territorial Autonomy Network; COST Action 18114)
    ENTAN is a COST Action aiming to examine comparatively and comprehensively the concept of non-territorial autonomy (NTA), in particular NTA arrangements for reducing inter-ethnic tensions within a state and for accommodation of the needs of different communities while preventing the calls to separate statehood. The Action will tackle recent developments in theories and practices of cultural diversity; minority rights (including linguistic and educational rights); state functions and sovereignty; conflict resolution through policy arrangements; policy making and inclusiveness; self-governance and autonomy. The main objective is to investigate the existing NTA mechanisms and policies and to develop new modalities for accommodation of differences in the context of growing challenges stemming from globalisation, regionalisation and European supranational integration.
    Ljubica Djordjević is a member of the Management Committee in respect of Germany and a member of Working Group 4 (University Course in Non-Territorial Autonomy)
  • Autonomy Arrangements in the World
    This project is a joint endeavour of four European research institutions: Eurac Research (Italy), Babes Bolyai University (Romania), ECMI (Germany) and Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities (Romania). The core of the project is an online compendium of territorial and non-territorial autonomy arrangements in the world. The website offers several case-studies of autonomy arrangements in the world and tracks a growing trend in this field. During the current stage of the project, a comparative/horizontal comparison of the cases is carried out. The role of the ECMI in the project is to supervise case studies of non-territorial autonomy (NTA) arrangements.


  • First Training School on Non-Territorial Autonomy, 8-11 September 2020, Flensburg, Germany & Sønderborg, Denmark (co-organized by the Centre of Border Region Studies of the University of Southern Denmark, the ECMI and the Interdisciplinary Centre for European Studies at the Europa-Universität Flensburg)
    Programme can be found here.
  • Ljubica Djordjević in a Short-Term Scientific Mission at the Institute for Ethic Studies. Ljubljana, Slovenia (1-30 September 2021)
  • Ljubica Djordjević presenting “An Outline for Systematic and Evidence-Based Monitoring of the Functioning of the National Minority Councils in Serbia” at the 2nd ENTAN Conference in Budapest, 24-25 September 2021
  • ECMI workshop, “Monitoring and Evaluation of Performance of National Minority Councils”, online, 21 April 2021
  • Dr. Djordjević presented “An Outline for the Assessment of Minority Representative/Participatory Bodies” at the International Conference “The legal situation of national minorities in Lithuania in the context of national and international law”, European Foundation of Human Rights, 26 May 2021
    Programme can be found here.


  • ECMI Online Talk, “Can Minority Non-Territorial Autonomy Work in Practice?“, online, 9 June 2021


ECMI Founders