European Centre for Minority Issues’ (ECMI) Eastern Partnership Programme has long been in the pipeline and it is already communicated at the Centre’s website and in the ECMI Annual Programme 2014. But now it’s real. ECMI’s ambition of furthering diversity management in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine will be implemented.
As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark has confirmed financial support, the project starts immediately with a total budget of 600,000 € – over three years.
The project is run by the ECMI headquarters in Flensburg, but also the Georgia office will have a significant role to play. No coincidence; the project is based on the expertise and the progress that ECMI has accumulated in Georgia.
Enhancing the minority-majority climate
The overall objective of ECMI’s Eastern Partnership Programme is to enhance the minority-majority climate in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. This goes via improvement of minority protection on one side, and institutionalization of the minorities’ political participation on the other.
The programme objective will be achieved by the means of training seminars. The participants will be representatives of both public bodies and minority organizations from the three targeted countries.
Focus on the practical
“Most probably, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova know everything relevant about treaties and good intentions, but here in Flensburg we know how to practically go about it, if you really want minority protection and participation. We will share our knowledge, of course,” declares ECMI Director Dr Tove H. Malloy.
The premise of the Eastern Partnership Programme is that stakeholders in both Belarus, the Ukraine and in Moldova have expressed interest in knowledge of – and expertise in – protection of minorities and diversity management. According to the stakeholders, the main challenge is lack of knowledge on how to eventually implement all the good intentions and plans.
It is far from the first time ECMI has accomplished a project of this scale and ambition. ECMI has spearheaded projects in both Kosovo and Georgia that led to dialogues between minorities and authorities, and – most importantly – the dialogues were eventually embedded in institutions and legislation.
Flensburg, Tbilisi, Kiev, Chisinau, Minsk…
“Wars and crises come and go, but the need to create good relations between minorities and majorities is permanent,” says Dr Malloy:
“Moreover, ECMI’s vision is as relevant as ever; in our research, we try to uncover the positive aspects of diversity, rather than always focusing on minorities in the context of conflict. So let me also add that this project was conceived long before the war and crisis in the Ukraine.”
The current project can best compare with the activities ECMI has implemented in Georgia.
In 1999, Georgia became a member of the Council of Europe (CoE) and in 2005 Georgia ratified the CoE Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM). In order to facilitate the implementation of the FCNM in Georgia, ECMI stepped in with advice and guidance to both the government and minorities. Then and now, the challenge was how Georgia should go about it in practice.
Since then, ECMI in Georgia has helped to build capacity within minority organizations and among authorities’ civil servants, and has succeeded in institutionalizing the relations between the parties. On the government side ECMI helped in establishing the structures which – so to speak – take care of the area and which minorities can turn to. On the minority side ECMI helped with expertise in advocacy when it comes to minority and other rights, and with getting the minorities organized.
Director Malloy explains: “Stable institutions and regular meetings where the parties listen to each other and present their interests and arguments, do pave the way for good solutions, and you often avoid temperaments being brought to the boil.”
The ambition of the Eastern Partnership Programme is to replicate the success of Georgia. However, there are significant differences between Georgia and the three programme countries that ECMI staff is very aware of. And the Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus are also different from each other: Belarus is not a member of the Council of Europe, where the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities is nested, civil war prevails in parts of the Ukraine, and Moldova has its own extraordinary challenges to deal with.
Facts: Minorities in the programme countries
More than 100 different nationalities reside in the Ukraine. The largest group is the Russians, but Ukraine is also home of Belarusians, Crimean Tatars, Moldovans, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Romanians, Poles, Jews and many others. In Belarus there are, besides Belarusians, Polish and Lithuanian minorities, while Moldova in addition to Moldovans includes Ukrainians, Russians, Gagauz people, Romanians and Bulgarians.
For more information:
There will usually be English, German, Russian and Danish speaking staff available within normal working hours on 0049 (0) 461 1 41 49-0.
The project’s academic staff consists of Dr Aleksander Osipov (Russia) Director Dr Tove H. Malloy (Denmark) and Hanna Vasilevich (Belarus). Vasilevich is the contact person of the project.
ECMI titles online related to Belarus
- Osipov, Alexander and Hanna Vasilevich (eds.), Minority Issues in the Republic of Belarus, Europe and the World [in Russian]. ECMI Handbook.
Minsk: Medisont, 2012.
- Ulasiuk, Iryna, Language Policies and Law in Education in Post-Soviet Belarus.
ECMI Working Paper #50.
Flensburg: European Centre for Minority Issues, 2011.
ECMI titles online related to Moldova
- Järve, Priit, From Ethnopolitical Conflict to Inter-Ethnic Accord in Moldova.
ECMI Report #1.
Flensburg: European Centre for Minority Issues, 1998.
- Järve, Priit, Communists of Moldova and the Future of the Country’s Ethnopolitical Conflicts.
ECMI Issue Brief #3.
Flensburg: European Centre for Minority Issues, 2001.
- Prina, Federica, Linguistic Divisions and the Language Charter
– the Case of Moldova
ECMI Working Paper #64
Flensburg: European Centre for Minority Issues, 2013
- Prina, Federica, What next for Moldova’s minorities after Crimea?
ECMI Issue Brief #33
Flensburg, European Centre for Minority Issues, 2014
- Protsyk, Oleh, Andrei Valentin and Igor Bucătaru, Addressing the Transnistrian Conflict: Competing Stances of Moldova’s Political Parties and Expert Community.
ECMI Working Paper #37.
Flensburg: European Centre for Minority Issues, 2007.
- Protsyk, Oleh and Ion Osoian, Ethnic or multi-ethnic parties? Party competition and legislative recruitment in Moldova.
ECMI Working Paper #47.
Flensburg: European Centre for Minority Issues, 2010.
- Wolff, Stefan, A resolvable frozen conflict? Designing a Settlement for Transnistria.
ECMI Issue Brief #26.
Flensburg: European Centre for Minority Issues, 2011.
ECMI titles online related to Ukraine
- Osipov, Alexander, What do the Crimean Tatars face in Crimea?
ECMI Issue Brief #32.
Flensburg: European Centre for Minority Issues, 2014
- Protsyk, Oleh, Majority-minority relations in the Ukraine
Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues, Vol. 7, Issue 1 (2008).
- Trier, Tom, Inter-Ethnic Relations in Transcarpathian Ukraine.
ECMI Report #4.
Flensburg: European Centre for Minority Issues, 1999.