An E.U. Perspective on New Versus Traditional Minorities: On Semi-Inclusive Socio-Economic Integration and Expanding Visions of 'European' Culture and Identity
It is hardly an exaggeration to say that volumes have already been written ON THE THEME OF the relationship between minority protection in particular countries and the EU. The preferred topics tend to be minority protection during accession monitoring, the accusation of double standards and a possible way out, and the related theme of expanding attention for minority issues within the EU, sometimes even focusing on a particular minority group like the Roma. A second theme that has attracted considerable attention in terms of minority protection is the question of whether, and to what extent, ‘migrants’ could qualify as new minorities. This article seeks to merge these two lines of investigation in order to enhance insight into the EU and its attitude towards traditional versus new minorities, while also exposing the underlying conceptualizations of ‘Europe’, European identity and the Europe that is being integrated under the aegis of the EU. Notwithstanding the absence of an explicit minority policy for internal purposes, it is possible to identify the gradual emergence of a minority-conscious implementation of non-minority-specific EU policies (non-discrimination, social inclusion, integration, human rights and cultural diversity). Nevertheless, this emergence is not equally marked in all policy areas. It is argued here that there is a clear difference between the approach towards minorities - and new, immigrant minorities in particular - in terms of socio-economic integration (the socio-economic sphere) on the one hand and in terms of cultural integration and identity protection (the cultural-identity sphere) on the other. Policies regarding socio-economic integration are rather elaborate and at least semi-inclusive in the sense that they also benefit new minorities from outside the EU (third country nationals “TCN”, as opposed to EU citizens). The EU’s cultural diversity policies are more modest and have progressed only hesitantly from an agnostic attitude towards minorities to a modest attention solely to indigenous minorities, and then finally to an inclusive approach towards both traditional and new (TCN) minorities. In the end, the picture that emerges can be linked to visions (of the EU institutions) about Europe and European identity with relation to the overarching goal of ‘European integration’. Arguably, the integration process is gradually becoming more inclusive, with integration in the socio-economic dimension apparently working as a catalyst for integration in the field of culture and cultural identity.
Henrard, K.A.M. (2010). An E.U. Perspective on New Versus Traditional Minorities: On Semi-Inclusive Socio-Economic Integration and Expanding Visions of 'European' Culture and Identity. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/108907