The ECMI published three Working Papers over the last few months, written by different members of the ECMI research team, covering varying topics both in terms of academic discipline and geographical focus. This blogpost will give you a brief overview of our recent research output.
May saw the release of Working Paper #115 entitled ‘Administrative-Territorial Reform through Municipal Amalgamation and the Protection of National Minorities: European Standards and a Few Examples’, by the ECMIs Head of Justice and Governance Dr. Ljubica Djordjevic. This legal focused publication “provides an outline of the European standards for the change of municipal borders” and aims to “depict some basic considerations regarding the protection of national minorities in light of the creation of larger municipal units through amalgamation reforms”. To this end, the Working Paper uses the empirical cases of Albania, Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands to unpack how these states dealt with the issues of amalgamation in varying but more or less successful ways in regard of the protection of national minorities and within the scope of the monitoring of the two European minority conventions.
This was followed by Working Paper #116 by Dr. Sergiusz Bober entitled ‘Does Regional Development Matter in Minority Politics? Regional Development in the Recent Electoral Activity of Three National Minorities’, which was a consequence of Dr. Bober’s presentation to the ASEN conference in Edinburgh earlier this year. Dr. Bober’s publication is part of a new research focus of the ECMI to look at national minorities in the scope of regional development. To this end, the Working Paper analyses the recent political manifestos of minority political organisations in three border regions; Denmark, Germany and Poland, in order to ascertain how or if the topic of regional development is discussed. The conclusions find that regional development “features prominentetly in the analysed documents” and that “influences of sustainable approaches to development are noticeable”. In addition, Dr. Bober concludes that all the actors are “pragmatic when it comes to the potential political alliances necessary for the achievement of their regional development goals”.
Finally, the most recent ECMI publication is Working Paper #117, written by Research Assistant Craig Willis, entitled “National Minorities and Regional Development: A Comparative Overview of the Three Baltic States”. This again concerns the topic of regional development but approaches it with a statistical methodology analysing macro figures of regional development across the 21 NUTS level 3 regions of the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The analysis finds that there is no statistical relationship between the percentage of national minorities in a region and the level of regional development (measured through OECD Regional Well-Being and Eurostat indicators), rather that the divide is between capital city areas and the periphery. However, this analysis does show that many regions are not hindered by having a national minority population in comparison to other peripheral regions – particularly the case in Lithuania. The paper also highlights the macro situation which many minorities live in and the challenges they face, identifying patterns within each state and across all three as a comparison.