A new Open Society Institute report points to the dangers of the absence of a comprehensive framework for minority protection in the EU in the context of enlargement. The two-volume report, published on 25 November, finds that while special policies have been adopted in the candidate countries to address these issues, their implementation has been poor due to lack of broad political and public support.
A new report, published by the Open Society Institute (OSI), draws attention to the serious problems Roma and Russian-speaking minorities still face in the EU candidate countries. All Central and East European countries have adopted special policies to improve the situation for their minorities, but these policies have not been fully and effectively implemented due to insufficient funding, ineffective administration and lack of political support within governments.
The report finds that the EU itself lacks a comprehensive approach to minority protection. The Race Equality and Employment Directives contain clear anti-discrimination standards, but these rules do not cover minority rights. Religious discrimination is covered only in the Employment Directive. The legislation puts no mechanism in place to ensure that Member States comply with the standards that exist or to monitor the implementation of compliance. In effect, few candidate or Member States have so far brought their legislation into compliance.
The report calls on EU candidate and Member States to develop and implement more comprehensive policies for minority protection, including measures both to protect against discrimination and promote minority rights.
Director of OSI’s EU Accession Monitoring Program (EUMAP) stated, “the EU should make it clear that minority protection is one of its common values by affirming that it intends to continue monitoring the situation of vulnerable minorities across the Union up to and beyond accession, as a condition of EU membership.”
The “Monitoring Minority Protection” report focuses on the situation of the Roma and Russian-speaking minority in 10 candidate countries and the situation of Muslims and the Roma in five current Member States.