Mainstreaming Human and Minority Rights in the EU Enlargement with the Western Balkans

17-12-2012

With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty the protection of minorities became an explicit founding value of the European Union. In its external relations the EU has with the membership perspective and increased integration in the common market strong instruments at her disposal to promote and foster the protection of human and minority rights in the Western Balkan states. The question, however, arises to which extent the EU made and makes use of this leverage in its enlargement policy. The study investigates whether the EU`s own commitments with regard to the protection of minorities became an integral part of the enlargement process with the Western Balkan states. It gives an overview of the situation of minorities in the states of the Western Balkan, explores the minority rights frameworks in place and how they have been implemented so far. It reviews the EU's record of monitoring and mainstreaming rights of persons belonging to minorities in the enlargement process and examines current policy and financial instruments available in enlargement and neighbourhood policies in this regard. Since there are various actors involved in the protection of minorities at the regional level cooperation with the OSCE and the CoE will be explored and analysed how regional cooperation in the field of minority protection is already developed. In concluding, recommendations will be made on how to improve EU and European Parliament’s action in the field of minority protection.

With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty the protection of minorities became an explicit founding value of the European Union. In its external relations the EU has with the membership perspective and increased integration in the common market strong instruments at her disposal to promote and foster the protection of human and minority rights in the Western Balkan states. The question, however, arises to which extent the EU made and makes use of this leverage in its enlargement policy. The study investigates whether the EU`s own commitments with regard to the protection of minorities became an integral part of the enlargement process with the Western Balkan states. It gives an overview of the situation of minorities in the states of the Western Balkan, explores the minority rights frameworks in place and how they have been implemented so far. It reviews the EU's record of monitoring and mainstreaming rights of persons belonging to minorities in the enlargement process and examines current policy and financial instruments available in enlargement and neighbourhood policies in this regard. Since there are various actors involved in the protection of minorities at the regional level cooperation with the OSCE and the CoE will be explored and analysed how regional cooperation in the field of minority protection is already developed. In concluding, recommendations will be made on how to improve EU and European Parliament’s action in the field of minority protection.

Údar seachtarach

Wolfgang BENEDEK, Florian BIEBER, Lisa HESCHL, Emma LANTSCHNER, Josef MARKO and Reinmar NINDLER (University of Graz, Austria)