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European experiences on accommodating ethnic and national differences


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Presentation by Gabriel Munuera Viñals
Political Counsellor, EC Delegation to the Philippines at the Conference on the “Right of Self-Determination of Peoples”
17-18 July 2007 organized by the Institute for Autonomy & Governance and the Konrad Adenauer-Stiftung

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European experiences on accommodating ethnic and national differences

  1. 1. EUROPEAN EXPERIENCES IN ACCOMMODATING EHTNIC/NATIONAL DIFFERENCES Presentation by Gabriel Munuera Viñals Political Counsellor, EC Delegation to the Philippines Conference on the “Right of Self-Determination of Peoples” 17-18 July 2007
  2. 2. PRELIMINARY CLARIFICATIONS No theoretical ambitions Categories based on realities on theground Presentation not exhaustive Use “ethnic/national” deliberate Focus on EU MS + Western Balkans Only dealing with tested formulas Personal capacity
  3. 3. DEFINITIONSNation/Nationality  an ethnically, linguistically or otherwisehomogeneous group demanding political power over a territory considered theiractual or ancestral land, with the ultimate aim among some or many of itsmembers of creating a StateNational Minority  numerically smaller, non-dominant groupdistinguished by shared ethnic, racial, religious or linguistic attributes linked toa larger mother nation to which some or many of its members feel they belongand which some or many would ultimately wish to rejoinIndigenous People  Peoples in independent countries who are regardedas indigenous on account of their descent from the populations which inhabitedthe country at the time of conquest or colonization or the establishment ofpresent State boundaries and who, irrespective of their legal status, retain someor all of their own social, economic, cultural and political institutions
  4. 4. A MULTI-ETHNIC/NATIONAL EUROPE (I) “Nations/nationalities“ [1] perceived as such by many of their members and generally acknowledged (at least as a well identified, culturally –in a broad sense-- distinct groups by the States within which they find themselves): In Spain  Basques, Catalonians, Galicians In the UK  Scots, Welsh. In France  Corsicans, Brittons, Basques. In Belgium  Flemish and Wallons.[1] There are other distinct groups whose categorization as stand-alone state-less nations would be moredebatable, including Sardinians, Valle dAostans, Friulians, Sicilians, Valencians, Balears, Alsacians,Frisians, Manx, Cornish or Bavarians. There are also regions, often geographically separated from theStates "mainland" which enjoy a measure of self-rule in Europe (Azores Islands, Madeira, Faroe Islands).
  5. 5. A MULTI-ETHNIC/NATIONAL EUROPE (II) National minorities: In Italy  German speakers in South Tyrol In Finland  Swedes In Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Serbia  Hungarians In the Baltic Republics and Moldova  Russians In FYROM, Serbia  Albanians In Croatia  Serbs In Greece, Bulgaria  Turks In Belgium  German speakers
  6. 6. A MULTI-ETHNIC/NATIONAL EUROPE (III)  Indigenous Peoples [1]:: [1] In Norway, Sweden and Finland  Sami   In Denmark (Greenland)  Greenlandic (Inuit+Greenland-born whites)  Special cases:  Throughout Europe  Roma  Northern Ireland  Unfinished "de-colonisation" of the Irish nation with a "bristish" national minority or Irish national minority within the "british" nation?  Kosovo  Is there a "Kosovar" nation or an Albanian minority within Serbia wishing to re-join the Albanian nation?  Bosnia Herzegovina  a three-national state? The nation-state of the "Bosniaks" with Croatian and Serbian national minorities?  Cyprus  Is there Cypriot nation (with a Turkish national minority) or just Cypriot Greeks and Cypriot Turks?  Switzerland  A unique historical process resulting in a confederation of cantons with four constituent "peoples" (German, French, Italian and Romanche-speaking).  In Moldova  Gagauzians (Turkic national minority of nation?)[1] European nations do have at their roots ethnic or tribal groups (Germanic, Celtic, Iberian), which havebeen diluted through a long historical process of interacting with other groups
  7. 7. HISTORY OF THE NATIONAL ISSUE Main milestones:  Birth of the nation-state following the French revolution in the late XVIII Century. Previously either Aristocratic multi-ethnic States/Empires (Hasburg, Tsarist, Ottoman) or absolutist yet often no less multi-ethnic States (Bourbon regimes in France or Spain) in Europe.  German and Italian unifications in the second half of the XIX Century.  Implosion of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires as a result of the first Balkan Wars and WWI.  End of the Cold War - Implosion of former Yugoslavia (triggering what has been called the second Balkan Wars) and the Soviet Union in the 1990s. "Drivers"  The cultural/literary movement of Romanticism and the spread of the Nationalism ideology during the XIX Century, resulting in political nationalist movements/parties springing up throughout Europe in the late XIX and early XX Centuries.  The concurrent building of nation-states via universal conscription, modern state bureaucracies and universal education.
  8. 8. NATIONAL FORMULAS TO ACCOMMODATE ETHNIC/NATIONAL DIFFERENCES Measures of cultural autonomy aimed at accommodating fragile indigenous peoples and national minorities  Sami/Lappland, Greenland, Sud Tyrol Territorial autonomy aimed at accommodating nations/nationalities within existing States  Scotland, Basque Country Federal/confederal frameworks aimed at accommodating several peoples/nations coexisting in a State  Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina Mixed frameworks  FYROM/Albanians, Northern Ireland
  9. 9. NATIONAL FORMULAS TO ACCOMMODATE ETHNIC/NATIONAL DIFFERENCES (I)BELGIUM Flemish, Wallons and German speakers Constitutional reforms 1970s/1980s Three-tiered Federation - Federal Government exclusively responsible for justice, defence, federal police, social security, nuclear energy, public debt and other aspects of public finances and State-owned companies, plus substantial parts of public health, home affairs and foreign affairs - Regions have authority over economy, employment, agriculture, water policy, housing, public works, energy, transport, the environment, town and country planning, credit and foreign trade - Linguistic communities are responsible for culture, education, linguistic policy, health and social assistance (welfare, youth, immigrant assistance)
  10. 10. NATONAL FORMULAS TO ACCOMMODATE ETHNIC/NATIONAL DIFFERENCES (II)DENMARK Greenland  Greenlandic people (Scandinavian/Inuit) 1979 Greenland Home Rule Act  27-member Landsting (and 2 representatives to Folketing) + Landsstyre (Executive Council) headed by Lagmadure (Prime Minister)  Full administrative responsibility for Greenlands internal affairs (taxation, fisheries, planning, cultural affairs, nature conservation, education, religious affairs, social welfare and labour); DK Government authority over foreign affairs, defence and judicial (local High Court and right of appeal to DK High Court)  Official language Greenlandic or Inuktitut (Inuit family) with Danish as communication language.
  11. 11. NATIONAL FORMULAS TO ACCOMMODATE ETHNIC/NATIONAL DIFFERENCES (III)FINLAND/NORWAY/SWEDEN Sami/Lapps Sami Parliaments (elected by Samis  self-identification, speaking Sami language or descendant speaker)  Finland (1996)  Sami Parliament Act (1995)  21 reps elected from Sami Domicile Area  culture, language and status as indigenous people  funds from Federal budget  Sami Parliament part of Ministry Justice Sweden (1993)  Sametinslag (31 representatives)  cultural protection  Norway (1989)  Saami Act (1987)  ensure language protected
  12. 12. NATIONAL FORMULAS TO ACCOMMODATE ETHNIC/NATIONAL DIFFERENCES (IV)FRANCE Corsica  independence movement – violent groups  Since 1991 Territorial Collectivity with two departments, an elected Assembly, an Executive Council and an Economic, Social and Cultural Council  Powers reinforced in 2002 (school curriculum –including promotion Corsican language in schools--, sports and popular culture, tourism, management local forests, management ports and airports, hydroelectric power, local industry aid, cultural action; shared competences on environment, agriculture, fisheries and archeological/historical patrimony)  Plan for greater autonomy (merging two departments, greater protection for Corsican language) failed in referendum in 2003.
  13. 13. NATIONAL FORMULAS TO ACCOMMODATE ETHNIC/NATIONAL DIFFERENCES (V)FYROM Albanian minority  spill over Kosovo conflict - clashes in 2001 Lake Ohrid Agreement (NATO/EU ceasefire monitoring) 2001__  enhanced competences of and resources to local government (78 municipalities -- urban/rural planning, environment, local finances, education, health care, social welfare, culture, local police head chosen by local Council)  non discrimination and equitable representation of communities in public office, including the Constitutional Court, Ombudsman and Judicial Council; certain constitutional amendments and laws on local government, education, culture approved by qualified majority ensuring accord non- Macedonian representatives  Macedonian official language throughout country and for international relations, but any language spoken by at least 20% also official, in education (primary, secondary and support for University level), administration and judiciary.
  14. 14. NATIONAL FORMULAS TO ACCOMMODATE ETHNIC/NATIONAL DIFFERENCES (VI)ITALY Sud Tyrol  German speakers  clashes 1960s 1972 Statute of Autonomy (Region Trentino/Sud Tyrol)  Powers devolved at Regional and Provincial Levels  Sud-Tyrol special provisions on language (strict official bilingualism and trilingualism in Ladin-speaking areas), schools, culture and ethnic proportions on employment (proportionality principle in public employment); budgetary freedom on its expenditures (can keep 90% of tax revenue collected by the State) but few powers on taxation
  15. 15. NATIONAL FORMULAS TO ACCOMMODATE ETHNIC/NATIONAL DIFFERENCES (VII)FINLAND Aland Islands (populated by Swedes) "Autonomy Act" (1951)  Swedish only official language  Aland "citizenship" (Aland traditional residents or non-Aland Finns residing there for 5 years); non-Aland citizens may be denied right to purchase land or exercise commercial activity; Aland citizens also Finnish citizens, can participate in Finnish politics but are exempted from military service  Ladsting legislating in all matters affecting the islands (55 inhabited, total 6,554), including culture, health, education, housing and social welfare, public order, and with the exception of constitutional law, foreign relations, general taxes and payments, criminal and most civil law, judiciary, social insurance and transport  Aland Executive Authority and Chief Minister (plus Governor representing the Finnish President and Aland Island Commission; can levy taxes on income while national authorities levy national taxes and customs on Aland, but 0.45% remain on the islands
  16. 16. NATIONAL FORMULAS TO ACCOMMODATE ETHNIC/NATIONAL DIFFERENCES (VIII)SPAIN Basque Country  independence movement and terrorist violence Spanish constitution of 1978 – “Autonomias” "Estatuto de Gernika" (1979)  Basque Autonomous Community (three provinces and open to Navarra) -- Euskera co-official with Spanish/Castillian – Autonomous Institutions (Parliament, Government, enshrines pre-existing Juntas Generales/Diputaciones Forales) – exclusive competences (notably education, health) and mixed ones, including tax collection (except Customs), Judiciary (right to appeal to Spanish Supreme Court), law and order (except for borders), with some legislative capacity to legislate in those areas.
  17. 17. NATIONAL FORMULAS TO ACCOMMODATE ETHNIC/NATIONAL DIFFERENCES (IX)BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs  War 1992-1995 1995 Dayton Peace Accords  Three Constituent Peoples  Two Entities (FBH and RS) and Special District of Brcko  FBH 10 Cantons  74 municipalities and 4 cities  Power sharing in executive/legislative  Unitary Constitutional Court, Military, Indirect Taxation Authority and State Custom Service  High Representative
  18. 18. NATIONAL FORMULAS TO ACCOMMODATE ETHNIC/NATIONAL DIFFERENCES (X)UNITED KINGDOM Scotland  traditionally strong national identity  1998 Scotland Act: Scottish Parliament and First Minister, responsibility for health, education, local government, social work, economic development, law and home affairs (including most civil and criminal law and criminal law and criminal justice), environment, agriculture, sports and statistics  Scottish Parliament limited power to vary income tax (tartan tax)  UK (Secretary of State of Scotland) keeps powers relating to foreign policy, defence and national security, economic stability, common markets of UK goods, employment legislation, social security and most aspects of transport safety regulations
  19. 19. NATIONAL FORMULAS TO ACCOMMODATE ETHNIC/NATIONAL DIFFERENCES (XI)UNITED KINGDOM Northern Ireland  Catholic/Irish vs Protestant/British  “Troubles” (1970s – 2005): 1998 Good Friday Agreement:  Northern Ireland Assembly with devolved powers –education, health and agriculture with policing possible in future-; cross community principle for major decisions; "power sharing" Norther Ireland Executive with Ministers allocated proportionally to major parties;  North-South Ministerial Council and North-South Implementation Bodies on cross border cooperation; British-Irish Inter-governmental Conference (consultative role to EIRE on non devolved matters); British-Irish Council (EIRE, Ulster, UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man) to discuss areas of common concern;  early release within two years of paramilitary members of organisations observing ceasefire; Northern Ireland HR Commission; 2-year decommissioning period; repealing of Government of Ireland Act and EIREs territorial claim to Northern Ireland; closure of redundant UK army bases; Police reform;  equality of social, economic and cultural rights to all ethnic communities (official recognition of the Irish and Ulster-Scots languages as equal to English); Birthright of all people of NIreland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both (right to hold both British and Irish citizenship)  Royal Ulster Constabulary replaced by Police Service of Northern Ireland in 2001  28 July 2005 IRA announces end of its armed campaign; 25 September 2005 international inspectors certify the full decommissioning of arms  power sharing between Sinn Fein and Democratic Ulster Party resumed on 8 May 2007.
  20. 20. REGIONAL FORMULAS TO ACCOMMODATE ETHNIC/NATIONAL DIFFERENCES (I)EUROPEAN UNION  Committee of the Regions (consultative body on EU legislation, composed of representatives from regions of MS)  Copenhaguen Criteria (Respect for and protection of national minority groups)  Charter of Fundamental Rights (right to non discrimination on ethnic, linguistic or religious grounds and rights to respect for ethnic, linguistic or religious diversity).  Amsterdam Treaty (TEC, Art. 13)  the European Union is empowered to take appropriate action to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.  EC instruments  Directives 2000/48/EC and 2000/78/EC prohibiting direct or indirect discrimination on grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.  Action Programme to Combat Discrimination (2001-2006)  PROGRESS Programme (2004) – Community Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity  High Level Advisory Group on Social Integration of Ethnic Minorities and their Full Participation in the Labour Markets (2006)
  21. 21. REGIONAL FORMULAS TO ACCOMMODATE ETHNIC/NATIONAL DIFFERENCES (II)OSCE  High Commissioner for National Minorities  Thematic recommendations (education and linguistic rights, participation in public life, Roma/Sinti)  1990 Copenhagen Document (Meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension) requires participating States to take measures respect the rights of persons belonging to national minorities to effective participation in public affairs"…"protect the ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity of national minorities on their territory and create conditions for the promotion of that identity", and specifically to protect Roma and others against "any acts that constitute incitement to violence" and against "threats or acts of discrimination, hostility or violence"…"  Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues in the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (1998)
  22. 22. REGIONAL FORMULAS TO ACCOMMODATE ETHNIC/NATIONAL DIFFERENCES (III)COUNCIL OF EUROPE• Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (1994)  non discrimination; promotion of effective equality; promotion of conditions regarding the preservation of religion, language and traditions; freedoms of assembly, association, expression, thought, conscience and religion; access to and use of media; linguistic freedoms (use minority language in private and public and before administrative authorities); learning and instruction in minority language; trans-frontier contacts and cooperation; participation in economic, cultural and social life of country; participation in public life; and prohibition of forced assimilation.• Some of those provisions already under European Convention on Human Rights and European Court of Human Rights
  23. 23. HAVE THESE FORMULAS ACCOMMODATED ETHNIC/NATIONAL DIFFERENCES? Mixed record, in some cases tension/violence continues In some cases territorial autonomy has contributed to polarization Territorial autonomy no panacea, works best when goal of minority group not secession Cultural autonomy and local self-rule may be best instrument for addressing perceived discrimination of national minorities, but insufficient when dealing with territory-based self- perceived nations/nationalities Multiculturalism education and economic development as best ways forward? Ethnic/national differences cannot be solved, only managed