Towards 'Consociationalism Light'? the EU's, the Council of Europe's and the High Commissioner on National Minorities' Policies regarding the Hungarian Minorities in Romania and Slovakia

By Skovgaard, Jakob | Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe : JEMIE, July 1, 2009 | Go to article overview

Towards 'Consociationalism Light'? the EU's, the Council of Europe's and the High Commissioner on National Minorities' Policies regarding the Hungarian Minorities in Romania and Slovakia


Skovgaard, Jakob, Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe : JEMIE


Abstract

This paper concerns how three organisations, namely the Council of Europe, the European Union and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) including its High Commissioner on National Minorities, have addressed the issue of the Hungarian minorities in Romania and Slovakia. The organisations have issued recommendations to the governments of Hungary, Romania and Slovakia regarding how to treat these sizeable minorities, and paper looks into these recommendations to see what the 'ideal minority policies' of the three organisations have looked like. It is argued that the organisations started from rather different perspectives, but during the 1990s increasingly converged in their views. This was due to a large degree to the process of EU enlargement, which started in 1997. As the EU held relatively little expertise on the question of national minorities, it relied extensively on the positions of the other two organisations. The advent of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities drafted by the Council of Europe also provided a common standard for the three organisations.

Introduction

The end of the Cold War was followed by an upsurge in the interest in nationalism and especially ethnic conflict. The criss-crossing of ethnic and state boundaries in the old East Bloc led many, particularly Western governments, the EU and NATO, to fear that other countries may end up with the same fate as Yugoslavia. The three million Hungarians living in neighbouring countries, for the most part in Romania and Slovakia, seemed to constitute a potential cause of such conflict. At the same time, there was a renewed interest in ethnic politics and democracy also in the West, largely due to the (re-)emergence of ethnic movements in states such as Canada, Spain and the UK (Kymlicka 2001). Therefore the Hungarian minorities became subject of much interest from Western and pan-European organisations, including the Council of Europe, the EU and the newly created OSCE and its High Commissioner on National Minorities (the HCNM).

I will argue that the attempts of these three organisations, the Council of Europe, the EU and the HCNM, to regulate the issue of the Hungarian minorities in Romania and Slovakia were not created out of the blue, but to a large degree inspired by the theories of ethnic conflict and multiethnic democracies. This paper is based on my research on how the three organisations have reacted to the situation of the Hungarian minorities in Romania and Slovakia. I have analysed the various documents from the three organisations addressing the situation of the Hungarian minority in the country. The texts have all been addressed to the governments of the two countries and have criticised or approved actions as well as suggested changes. The period covered starts in 1993 when the office of the High Commissioner was established and Romania's and Slovakia's accession processes to the Council of Europe began. The period ends with Slovakia's and Hungary's entry into the EU in May 2004. It is important to keep in mind that I do not address the reasons of the organisations for arguing what they have argued, but rather look at their arguments themselves. In other words, what is interesting is which kind of argument that is being made, not why it is being made (Skinner 2002: 98). Thus, the interesting issue is whether an organisation recommends a specific policy in its recommendation, not whether the leaders of the organisation actually think that this policy is commendable.

Whereas there have been many attempts to look at the overall policies and discourses on national minorities of these organisations in order to understand their underlying perspectives,2 this paper intends to look at the discourse employed in the practice of the organisations regarding the specific case of the Hungarian minorities in Romania and Slovakia. The intention is to provide an understanding into which norms can be extracted from the arguments of the three organisations, and ascertain how these norms are increasingly converging. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Towards 'Consociationalism Light'? the EU's, the Council of Europe's and the High Commissioner on National Minorities' Policies regarding the Hungarian Minorities in Romania and Slovakia
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.