Towards a European Norm? The framing of the Hungarian Minorities in Romania and Slovakia by the Council of Europe, the EU and the OCSE
Title: Towards a European Norm? The framing of the Hungarian Minorities in Romania and Slovakia by the Council of Europe, the EU and the OCSE
Author: SKOVGAARD, Jakob
Series/Number: EUI SPS; 2007/07
This paper addresses how three European organisations, namely the Council of Europe, the European Union and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and its High Commissioner on National Minorities, have addressed the issue of the Hungarian minorities in Romania and Slovakia. These three organisations have issued recommendations to the governments of Hungary, Romania and Slovakia regarding how to treat these sizeable minorities, and the 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 out from rather different perspectives but increasingly converged in their views during the 1990s. This was to a large degree due 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. Concerning the recommendations issued by the organisations, it is argued that, in spite of some variations, they seem to converge around one ideal: namely that the Hungarian minorities should have the right to their own culture and identity, and should have an important say in decisions affecting them as ethnic Hungarians, especially in the areas of education and culture. It has repeatedly been recommended by the organisations that this right should be realised through the participation in government of the political parties representing the Hungarian minorities. All of this seems based on an understanding of ethnic groups as unitary and homogenous actors, and political participation as being shaped primarily by ethnicity.
Subject: Hungarian minorities; OSCE; EU; Council of Europe; Minority rights
Type of Access: openAccess