Federalism, Subnational Constitutions, and Minority Rights

By G. Alan Tarr; Robert F. Williams et al. | Go to book overview

5
The Protection
of Minorities in a
Federal State:
The Case of Germany

Norman Weiss

This chapter examines the relationship between the protection of minorities in Germany and Germany’s federal structure. It reveals that Germany has a long tradition of federalism and that the federalist distribution of powers and competencies affects the protection of minorities. But it should be emphasized that the protection of minorities is not an issue at stake in the German discussion of federalism. The more pressing question of how to deal with the high number of immigrants and their integration is being dealt with on the national level.


FEDERALISM IN GERMAN HISTORY—
AN OVERVIEW

In Germany, even the premodern state was organized in a decentralized manner. In the Middle Ages, singular component entities (smaller or bigger monarchies and principalities, both secular and clerical, and free towns) had accepted—to some degree—the supremacy of the emperor who was elected out of the group of sovereign rulers. This constellation—the Holy Roman Empire being composed of 300 territories—

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