The Influence of EU Accession on Minorities' Status in East Central Europe

By Mungiu-Pippidi, Alina | Romanian Journal of Political Science, Spring 2007 | Go to article overview

The Influence of EU Accession on Minorities' Status in East Central Europe


Mungiu-Pippidi, Alina, Romanian Journal of Political Science


Abstract

The comparative report analyses the individual cases which constituted the EUROREG project with the aims of: enhancing the existing knowledge on the nature of regional development, mobilization, ethnic minority politicization, and how these are reconfigured by European integration processes; examining how EU regional economic policies in EU member states affect patterns of political participation and economic activity of ethnic minorities, as well as their relations with national majorities, political parties and state administration; examining the ways in which human rights and minority protection policies in CESE accession states alter patterns of local political participation and regional economic activity of ethnic minorities, their relations with national majorities and political parties and state administration and compare the ways in which EU integration affects the regional mobilization and political representation of minorities and majorities, as well as national-ethnic identities and conceptions of 'Europe' in member states and CESE accession countries.

Key words

minorities, EU accession, regional development, minority-majority relations

1. Aim of this paper

1. The aim of this paper is to compare EU accession countries involved in the EUROREG research, following the original objectives set out by the project:

2. To enhance and revise existing knowledge on the nature of regional development, mobilization, ethnic minority politicization, and how these are reconfigured by European integration processes. To examine how EU regional economic policies in EU member states affect patterns of political participation and economic activity of ethnic minorities, as well as their relations with national majorities, political parties and state administration. We also seek to examine how minorities and majorities in regional-local institutions and development projects view their identification with a national or ethnic community, their rights and obligations as citizens of a state, and how they conceptualize 'Europe.'

3. To examine the ways in which human rights and minority protection policies in CESE accession states alter patterns of local political participation and regional economic activity of ethnic minorities, their relations with national majorities and political parties and state administration. We also seek to assess their identification with a national or ethnic community, their rights and obligations as citizens of a state, as well as how they conceptualize 'Europe.'

4. To compare the ways in which EU integration affects the regional mobilization and political representation of minorities and majorities, as well as national-ethnic identities and conceptions of 'Europe' in member states and CESE accession countries.

These objectives were detailed after a first round of case studies, leading to the main research aims of studying the political and economical effects of European accession on:

1. Minority group identity and mobilization, both at elite and group level

2. Political and economical status of minority groups under study.

3. Minority-majority relations, operationalized as patterns of cooperation, competition and cohabitation.

As this paper draws on previous work within this project on these cases, it will not reiterate the evidence presented in individual case studies, but further build on it. This paper draws on three kinds of sources for its data:

1. Qualitative research presented in individual case studies by Euroreg authors;

2. National and regional official statistics;

3. Quantitative analysis of public opinion data by the author, using accession countries' Eurobarometer 2003 information, and a Freedom House-Romanian Academic Society 2000 survey.

2. The cases

The original selection of Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia was based on the good comparability of these countries, particularly that each hosts an important indigenous minority. …

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