ECMI Joins the 20th Anniversary of the FCNM with a New Publication

“The Convention is one of the most important instruments in our daily work with promoting national minority rights and protection,” states Prof. Tove Malloy, ECMI Director and member of the FCNM Advisory Committee. The ECMI joins the 20th anniversary of the FCNM, with a new publication.

In 2018 the European Framework Convention for the Protection on National Minorities celebrates its 20 year anniversary. The ECMI marks the anniversary with a new ECMI InFocus Publication with the title “20 Years of Dealing with Diversity: Is the Framework Convention at a Cross-Road?” The publication is a collection of over 20 interviews with prominent experts and members of national minorities, and highlights the past, present and future expectations of the FCNM.

Prof. Dr. Tove H. Malloy, ECMI Director

The European Centre for Minority Issues is very proud to be a partner in the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities coming into force. The Convention is one of the most important instruments in our daily work with promoting national minority rights and protection. The fact that it is a living instrument is something we experience often in our work with authorities and representatives of national minorities. This is why we decided to collect testimonials from many of the people who have been involved in the life of the Convention at some point over the past 20 years. The ECMI InFocus Publication, “20 Years of Dealing with Diversity: Is the Framework Convention at a Cross-Road?” shows that the Convention is not only an instrument to manage diversity; it also promotes diversity within its midst”.

What is the publication about?

The publication starts with an overview of the making of the FCNM: the views of negotiators, sceptics and early builders. Here, Sergio Bartole, Gudmundur Alfredsson, Rainer Hofmann and Antti Korkeakivi recollect some of the memories of the road travelled from the beginning in 1998 to what the FCNM has achieved up to 2018.  “One of the achievements is that the FCNM as interpreted by the ACFC today has become the reference for minority rights in Europe,” says Prof. Dr. Rainer Hofmann.

Exploring the life of the FCNM and its current state, various views are presented in the ECMI InFocus, looking at the FCNM from different angles, including expert opinions from the OSCE, the EU and from various national perspectives.  “It does not help that you have support in Strasbourg, Vienna, or Geneva if you don’t have support in the country,” says Ambassador Knut Vollebaek on the importance of a stronger support internationally, as well as on national levels.

However, the key focus here lies on the importance of the FCNM as a living instrument: “If you want to make the FCNM a useful instrument, you have to make it as flexible as possible to cover problems as they appear. In the absence of another available document, we have to do the best we can with what we have. Ultimately, it is about not letting the FCNM becoming obsolete in the world in which we are living.”

What are the main achievements of the FCNM and what is the future of the FCNM? To answer this, in the last part of the publication a selection of experts is asked for their views and to put forward their ideas and suggestions. Here, Florian Bieber, Loránt Vincze, Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark, Mark Lattimer, Steinar Bryn and Kristin Henrard elaborate on “What can the Framework Convention deliver?” with their analysis, constructive criticism, and thoughts for the future of the Framework Convention.

The publication ends with concluding remarks on “What are the possible pathways ahead” by Stephanie Marsal.


The interviews in this publication were conducted by Stephanie Marsal. The publication and accompanying video were produced by the ECMI with funding from the Council of Europe.

As ECMI does not propagate opinions of its own, the views expressed in any of its publications are the sole responsibility of the author concerned.

The opinions expressed in this work are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the Council of Europe or its member States.

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