Expecting Too Much: European Union’s Minority Protection Hide-and-Seek

Dimitry Kochenov, Timofey Agarin

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EU’s deference to the Member State approaches in minority protection can intensify the oppression of
the vulnerable groups, its insistence on non-discrimination on the basis of nationality in the minority regions with special rights in place can equally produce injustice. Its inability to protect EU-wide minorities, like the Roma, is equally problematic. Although a ‘value’, minority protection functions incoherently, if at all. It is time to approach the EU as a highly specific minority protection arena not to be confused with its component parts – the Member States. The reform of the Member State-centred thinking should start at the level of approaching the core issues. It should include the assessment of such questions as what is a minority in the EU’s context of a missing majority, what is the appropriate depth of EU’s intervention in the area of minority protection, i.e. how much room for manœuvre should reasonably be left with the Member States without disrupting the effectiveness of EU’s regulation, as well as the approach to defining what a success in minority protection should be, in the
EU context. The latter should be done, in particular, with due regard to the division of competences between the EU and the Member States in this and other relevant fields. This paper briefly explores a series of diverse casestudies – from migrant EU citizens, Baltic Russians, and sexual minorities to, most importantly, Roma rights to make the first attempt to test the proposed synergetic approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-50
Number of pages44
JournalAnti-Discrimination Law Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2017

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