The Annual Report 2015 of the European Centre for Minority Issues is now available online. The report entitled “Changing Order and New Dimensions” provides overview of the past year’s ECMI activities and affairs.
ECMI Annual Reports highlight the main research, analysis, action and documentation results of the European Centre for Minority Issues. As such, the reports manifest how the Centre manages its ambition of delivering high-quality research, policy-relevant analysis, and of building bridges between majority-minority relations’ theory and practice.
Marking the events of 2015 and relevant work of the ECMI, this issue is named “Changing Order and New Dimensions” . The publication provides information on the ECMI projects, trainings, events both at the headquarters in Flensburg and in regional offices, as well as an overview of how/where the information on these activities have been disseminated. The Report also includes lists of ECMI team members and the publications issued throughout the 2015.
2015 was a year when Europe experienced yet another international shock to its perception as a continent of peace and co-operation. While the previous years, and not least the Greek financial crisis, had relegated minority-majority issues to a lower position on the international agenda, the refugee and migrant influx in the second half of 2015 not only highlighted the tenuous co-operation foundation, especially in the European Union (EU), but also brought minority issues back front and centre on the European agenda.
At the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI), we also felt this changing order in the political sphere. As a local actor, the ECMI has been active in the welcome activities in Flensburg, whereas at the regional and international levels we have increasingly provided advice and knowledge on integration and inter-cultural dialogue. The impact of new migration waves on national and ethnic minority protection is a new dimension that our research teams began to address in 2015 and will examine closer in the future (see our Annual Programme 2016).
During the year, the ECMI research teams worked diligently on on-going projects. Non-territorial autonomy continues to be a flagship effort, and two major publications appeared on Oxford University Press, prepared in co-operation with ECMI partners (see p. 29). Political participation and national minority indicators are other core topics on which we issued two handbooks, Participatory Mechanisms and Qualitative Minority Indicators (p. 30). We also pursued new analyses on Roma policy making as discussed in ECMI Issue Brief #34 (p. 30). The research teams also worked vigorously on funding applications for research and dissemination projects as well as action projects.
On the action-oriented side of our work, the ECMI consolidated and expanded its operations and presence in Eastern Europe as well as in the Balkans. In the Caucasus, our presence has been maintained and while some activities have ended, our role as sparing partner for authorities has continued. While ECMI Caucasus is vigorously pursuing new opportunities, ECMI Flensburg’s project team for Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine have been expanded in agreement with donors, while ECMI Kosovo has added new donors to our portfolio, including a major EU grant.
An important aspect of the ECMI mandate is training and knowledge transfer. Our M.A. course, The European Minority Rights Regime, is now a stable part of the winter semester at the European Studies Programme of Europa-Universität-Flensburg. Together with our annual Summer School and numerous trainings in Flensburg and in the field, all ECMI teams proudly pursued our mission of improving the situation of Europe’s minorities through heightened awareness of minority rights and minority issues among all relevant actors.
Much of what we have accomplished in 2015 could not have been possible without the strong support of the ECMI governing institutions, the Executive Board and the Advisory Council. The ECMI is also grateful to the institutions and donors that have supported and co-operated with us in 2015, particularly the foreign ministries of Denmark, Finland, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom as well as the Bosch Stiftung, the Zeit Stiftung, the Riksbanken Foundation of Sweden and a number of EU and United Nations agencies. We look forward to continue working with our supporters in 2016.
Prof. Dr. Tove H. Malloy