MINELRES: ECMI Newsletter, Autumn 2004

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European Centre for Minority Issues
Volume 1, Issue 1 
1 October 2004

Between Integration and Resettlement: The Meskhetian Turks

In July the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) launched a unique
project on the last of Stalin 's deported people entitled, "Between
Integration and Resettlement: The Meskhetian Turks". This project is
being made possible with the generous support of the Volkswagen
Foundation funding initiative "Between Europe and the Orient -A Focus on
Re-search and Higher Education in/on Central Asia and the Caucasus ".
The Meskhetian Turks are the last among the national groups of the
Soviet Union deported by Stalin in 1943-44, which as yet has not been
able to return to their native region (in southwest Georgia).Some
270-335,000 people today, the Meskhetian Turks following pogroms and
multiple displacements find themselves scattered throughout vast
territories in Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and, also, recently in the United States. In
some of these countries, the Meskhetian Turks face ethnic persecution
and even expulsion, at the same time Georgia effectively blocks
resettlement to their native region. International actors seeking to
address these problems encounter severe difficulties in finding
solutions, not only because of the opposition to resettlement but also
because of a lack of consistent knowledge of Meskhetian Turks ' own
perceptions of their displacement and preferences, and also, their
visions for future settlement.
A new development with regards to the population group is that of the US
State Department 's decision to include the Meskhetian Turks from the
Russia 's Krasnodar region, where the population group has experienced
major discrimination, among the groups of people that are entitled to
refugee status in the United States. Consequently, resettlement of the
people, who have an exceptional history of forced migration and
displacement even by the Soviet and post-Soviet standards, has started
yet to another country thus adding into the complexity of the case.
The ECMI 's research project aims to produce a comprehensive and
comparative cross-border study of today 's Meskhetian Turk communities
through a network of prominent researchers on the issue.The project also
strives to develop an alternative discourse to the framework maintained
by many international actors addressing the problems of the Meskhetian
Turks, based on the assumption that most Meskhetian Turks desire to
return to their region of origin. The project, through the conduct of
multi-disciplinary research in nine countries, seeks to grasp the
complexity of the subject by obtaining a thorough understanding of
Meskhetian Turkish identity, migration processes, concepts of "home "
and social organization, which can provide a basis for new approaches to
finding durable solutions to the problems of the Meskhetian Turks.
The first project workshop took place from 3-4 September at the ECMI
headquarter in Flensburg. Eighteen academic experts and practitioners
concerned with the issue, as well as representatives of the relevant
international organizations, including the Council of Europe and the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, took part in the meeting.
Consequently, reflecting the high calibre of the project team from
different academic disciplines including anthropology, sociology,
political science and law, the leading experts on the issue were
The underlining issues for the workshop was to elaborate and finalize
the project 's methodology, organization and research structure as well
as devise strategies for harmonizing the research methods in order to
ensure the consistancy of the research results. Apart from finalizing
the project design, the workshop gave an exceptional opportunity for the
research team to exchange information on the latest developments on the
issue as well facilitate open discussions between the scholarly experts
and practitioners concerned with the issue.
>From September until April 2005, when the second project workshop is
planned to take place, a first round of fieldwork will be conducted.
This fieldwork, in which ethno graphic and sociological methods are to
be used, will be carried out in more than thirty localities with
Meskhetian Turkish populations, in nine different countries.
Consequently, a second round of additional fieldwork will follow; the
structure and locations will be largely determined by the results of the
first round. Apart from this mainly qualitative field-work, separate
sociological surveys will be con ducted in the nine countries.
Simultaneously with the fieldwork, thematic studies on a number of
crosscutting issue areas and topics will be carried out. These topics
will include studies on the case of Meskhetian Turks vis-a-vis national
and international politics including the role of international
organizations, human rights aspects of the case, studies on identity and
social structures of the Meskhetian Turkish communities and a study of
the population group as a formerly deported people in the former Soviet
Union. Moreover, studies on the legal aspects of the case will be
conducted in two countries.
The project commenced in July 2004 and will run for 20 months. It will
result in a comprehensible research volume. Also, a smaller publication
on the main findings and research results will be produced. In addition
to significantly advancing knowledge on the population group and
developing alternative strategies for national and international actors
in finding durable solutions vis-a-vis the case of Meskhetian Turks, the
project will greatly enhance cross-border links and cooperation between
scholars and academic institutions in the west, the former Soviet Union
and Turkey.
The project is directed by Tom Trier, Head of Programs and Senior
Research Associate, and project coordinator Oskari Pentikaeinen, Project
Associate. For more in formation on the projects and background material
see ECMI Working Paper #21 Between Integration and Re settlement: The
Meskhetian Turks at www.ecmi.de/doc/public_papers.html or contact
Mr.Pentikaeinen at pentikaeinen@ecmi.de.

ECMI Director Marc Weller meets with Kosovo Prime Minister Rexhepi

Following a request by the Kosovo Prime Minister Bajram Rexhepi, the
ECMI has engaged into an effort to provide the Prime Minister' Office
with expertise in the areas of human and minority rights which would
enable his office to elaborate a strategy and to better carry out its
duties as reflected in the Kosovo Standards Implementation Plan, which
was jointly elaborated by the UN Mission in Kosovo and the Kosovo
Provisional Institutions of Self-Governance.
In order to further refine the program of activities and to ensure that
these are in line with the political developments in Kosovo, the ECMI'
Director Marc Weller met with Prime Minister Rexhepi on 4 September 2004
in Pristina. The meeting took place in a very cordial, informal
atmosphere and reflected the mutual understanding that progress on the
implementation of the Standards for Kosovo remains an essential factor
of the Government' policy in view of the expected evaluation of this
implementation in mid 2005.
The ECMI' work in Kosovo is carried out through several activities. The
ECMI is supporting the Standards Coordination Office within the Prime
Minister' Office in regards to the overall coordination of the
implementation of the plan. The main elements of the project entitled
The ECMI' Prime Minister Initiative consist of supporting the
interpretion of the implications of human and minority rights
requirements and translating
them into an action plan; supporting the development of internal
tracking and reporting mechanisms; providing expertise for drafting
legislation; and advising in generating and presenting concrete examples
of progress and/or successful implementation.
A key activity that the ECMI will undertake is to assist in generating a
guidance document for municipal authorities. This should help the
municipal authorities in identifying and carrying out activities
essential to the Standards document, in order to generate exemplary good
practice in a number of municipalities, which can then be taken up by
Thisfinal part of the initiative is specifically linked to ECMI'
long-standing project in Kosovo, the Standing Technical Working Group.
The Group consists of a number of experts, representatives of civil
society and officials, who engaged in a dialogue, which has produced
concrete policy recommendations for the Kosovo institutions. The
implementation of these recommendations is being monitored and actively
encouraged. Next year, the project will extend to the local/regional
level in Kosovo. By establishing an institutionalised dialogue at
the local and regional level, a culture of discussion, as well as the
exchange of information and expertise, will be enhanced in order to
generate genuine participation of Kosovo' citizens in policy decisions
taken at all levels of government.
Prime Minister Rexhepi expressed his continuing support for ECMI'
current and planned activities, underlining that this kind of
assistance, which is aiming at strengthening the competency and
performance of the government is welcome, since it will help the
Government to perform better in the task of implementing the standards.
Prime Minister Rexhepi reiterated the position of the Kosovo government
that the fulfillment of requirements deriving from the Standards for
Kosovo document should not continue to be linked to the question of a
future status for the province. He agreed that rapid and substantial
progress on the implementation of standards would not only ease the
status discussion, but would generally profit the population of Kosovo
by improving their living conditions. Prime Minister Rexhepi
acknowledged that the economic situation is an issue of high priority,
where it will be crucial to have improvement soon.
The ECMI Director assured the Prime Minister of the continuing interest
and involvement of ECMI in Kosovo as a contribution to furthering the
development of a democratic and inclusive society, in which all
inhabitants of the province are given the chance and possibility to

Projects in Development: Economic Opportunities for Minorities (EOM)

Members of ethnic and national minorities face widespread disadvantage
in their socio-economic opportunities in the European Union. This
disadvantage concerns their access to housing and services, healthcare,
education and training, as well as employment. The socioeconomic
disadvantage of minorities results from direct and indirect
discrimination, language barriers, lack of citizenship or status, and
lack of recognition. In the employment sector, minorities are often
excluded from public administration positions and relegated to the
lowest level jobs in the private sector.
Self-employment and self-starters of small and medium size enterprises
(SMEs) are often lower than the average. The level of education among
certain minority groups is generally appalling. Ethnic and national
minorities experience language difficulties in state school systems
resulting in high drop out rates and even non-attendance. Moreover, the
number of ethnic and national minority teachers appears low, and
segregation and special schooling have increasingly become the norm.
Discrimination in the housing sector is especially troubling with issues
ranging from non-access in the private housing market, laws requiring
residence permits to obtain public housing and health benefits, to
issues of property restitution in post-conflict areas and poor municipal
housing resembling ethnic ghettos in other areas. In many states, access
to the public health sector does not only require prior registration,
but also insurance guarantees. Disadvantaged minorities usually do not
have the means to buy insurance. Across the board, female members of
minorities often suffer double or triple discrimination:. rst as women,
next as members of minorities and third as members of the poorest part
of the population. The growing feminization of poverty is particularly
troubling for the future of the enlarging European Union which wishes to
be on the cutting edge of productivity.
Although social, economic and political exclusion and undignified living
conditions of the Romani population have attracted international
attention in recent years, the issue of socio-economic inclusion and
empowerment of other ethnic and national minorities has traditionally
received low priority among policy makers. In a wider European context,
Articles 4(2)and 15 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of
National Minorities stress the promotion of full and effective equality
between persons belonging to a national minority and those belonging to
the majority, and that this may require the parties to adopt special
measures that take into account the specific conditions of minorities.
The European Union has steadily increased its efforts over the years to
improve on this state of affairs within the Union. While the Charter of
the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers was adopted in 1989, recent
efforts have been spurred by shifts within the Union' priorities.
Firstly, the expansion in the Amsterdam Treaty of the principle of
non-discrimination to include ethnic minorities (Article 13)resulted in
a number of Directives on equal treatment and to combat discrimination
(2000/43;2000/78; 2000/750).This provision was expanded further in 2000
in the Charter for Fundamental Rights and Freedoms to include national
minorities (Article 21).Secondly, the Lisbon Strategy, adopted the same
year, sets the goal of job creation alongside social and environmental
policies that ensure sustainable development and social inclusion.'
In light of the elevation of the European Union' priorities on ethnic
and national minorities, the ECMI initiated a programme under the
umbrella-title of Economic Opportunities for Minorities at the end of
2003..The aim of this major effort is to advance our knowledge of the
socio-economic dimension of minority participation with a view to
suggest policy improvements.
The ECMI expects to initiate the project portfolio in this programme
with a policy-guiding project focusing on the good practices in
existence. The purpose of this project will be to disseminate knowledge
of good practices on ethnic and national minority inclusion through an
easily accessible presentation of the best practices identified. Under
the assumption that knowledge transfer of good practices enhances policy
making, it is expected that this project will contribute to state level
as well as international level policy making and programming on the
socio-economic dimension of minority inclusion.
The ECMI has discovered that there is little inter-disciplinary exchange
and research concerning the socio-economic dimension of ethnic and
national minority policy, be it empirical or theoretical.
While there is a thriving community of academics addressing the
political and legal aspects of national minority policy, little is
published, outside the field of development, on the socio-economic
dimension of ethnic and national minority inclusion policy. Although
recent projects under EU aegis have begun to address the exclusion of
new immigrants and refugees, the social and economic inclusion of
long-term residents of non-dominant ethnic and national backgrounds
appears under-explored. To contribute to the alleviation of this
deficiency, the ECMI is actively seeking academic partners interested in
joining a research network under the EU' Programme for Co-operation in
the field of Scientific and Technical research
Finally, the ECMI expects to launch a research project focusing on the
European Union' Neighbourhood Region towards the end of 2004.The purpose
of this project is to increase and deepen the knowledge of the
functioning of state policies and programming devised to encourage
economic participation of minorities in the Neighbourhood Region, with a
view to enhance ethnic and national minority participation policies in
the common European strategy for promoting a stable democratic
environment in Europe' near abroad. The research will delineate the
actual economic exclusion of ethnic and national minorities in five
areas of concern; access to employment, education, health, housing and
gender as well as survey the existing state policies on ethnic minority
inclusion. The project will survey the situation in Albania, Bosnia
&Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia &Montenegro, Armenia,
Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Romania. 
The overall program is directed by Dr.Tove Malloy, Head of the EU
Affairs Department and Senior Research Associate. For further
information on the project please contact Dr.Malloy at malloy@ecmi.de.

The ECMI Berlin Conference

On 26 May 2004, ECMI organized a conference entitled An Ever Diverse
Union? The Future of Minority -Majority Relations in an Enlarged Europe
at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) in Berlin. After brief
words of welcome by the ECMI Director Marc Weller, the ECMI Advisory
Board Chairman Peter Dyvig, and SWP Senior Research Fellow Ulrich
Schneckener, Member of the German Bundestag and Federal Government
Commissioner for Matters related to Repatriates and for National
Minorities in Germany, Jochen Welt offered a set of opening remarks.
Commissioner Welt' remarks were followed by a keynote debate between
Marc Scheuer of the Council of Europe and Krzysztof Drzewicki of the
OSCE Office of the High Commissioner on National Minorities.
Entitled Minority Protection in the New Europe: Existing Mechanisms and
Evolving Challenges, the conference' first regular panel was chaired by
the ECMI' Tove Malloy, with presentations by Wojciech Sadurski of the
European University Institute, Alan Philips of the Council of Europe
Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of
National Minorities, and Marc Weller, brought together in remarks by
discussant John Packer of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at
Tufts University.
The second panel, Accommodating Diversity: Western Models vs East
European Realities, was chaired by Swedish MP Gunilla Carlsson. The
speakers on this panel were Will Kymlicka of Queen' University, Andre
Liebich of the Graduate Institute of International Studies, and Florian
Bieber of the ECMI. Bertel Heurlin of the University of Copenhagen
served as discussant.
Chaired by SWP' Andreas Maurer, the conference' final panel was entitled
The New Neighbourhood: Emerging Issues of Inter-ethnic Tension, Security
and Stability. The panel included presentations by Stefan Troebst of the
University of Leipzig, Finnish MP Tarja Cronberg, and Alyson J.K.Bailes
of the Stockholm Peace Research Institute, as well as in the remarks of
discussant Ulrich Schneckener of SWP.

The ECMI Opens Offices in Georgia

With the successful conclusion of the pilot phase for the ECMI project
Defusing interethnic tension and promoting regional integration -the
Javakheti Region of the Republic of Georgia, the ECMI has opened a new
field office in Akhalkalaki town, in Javakheti, Georgia. The opening of
the office also marks the be ginning of the project' first phase, which
is planned to run until December 2005.
The Javakheti region, which is predominantly populated by ethnic
Armenians, has faced severe difficulties since the collapse of the
Union. The region, which has no pro per road connections to other parts
of the country, has been largely reduced to a subsistence economy and
has received limited national and international attention. Moreover, due
to the prevailing political and economic develop ments during the past
one and a half decades, the Javakheti region has increasingly become
economically, politically and socio-culturally isolated from the rest of
the country.
Consequently, the present ECMI project aims at enhancing good governance
within the Javakheti region by advancing dialogue between various
stakeholders, both with in Javakheti and between the region and the
central government in Tbilisi.
Additionally, the project will seek to enhance the region' disadvantaged
population groups through community mobilization.
The project will be managed and administered from the Akhalkalaki
office, which will comprise of the only permanently based international
staff in the region. Moreover, the premises will function as a resource
centre for the region' civil society actors. The office is an addition
to the ECMI' previously established office in the country' capital,
Tbilisi, and marks the ECMI' increasing activities in Georgia.

Romani Expert Groups for Romani Integration (Macedonia)

Building on the findings of a needs assessment commissioned and financed
by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency in June 2003
and conducted by the ECMI in Macedonia from September to November
2003,ECMI will begin implementation of a follow-on initiative in
September 2004. Funded by the Swedish Inter national Development
Cooperation Agency,the project will establish all-Romani Expert Groups
in the four core are as covered by the needs assessment: education,
health, civil rights, and employment. The Expert Groups will de sign and
conduct research which they deem important as a foundation for concrete
policy measures to remedy Roms comparative disadvantage in the core
areas, with coordination among the Expert Groups facilitating both the
prioritization of problem issues and the development of an action plan
to address those issues. Additionally, the activities of the Expert
Groups promise to result in synergies with others which will make the
whole resulting from them jointly greater than the sum of its
constituent parts.

Serbia and Montenegro: Integrated Analysis

>From September to December 2004,the ECMI will conduct a thorough,
integrated analysis of the situation of the Romani population in the
Union of Serbia and Montenegro. Commissioned and financed by the Swedish
International Development Cooperation Agency, this analysis will
generate a set of recommendations for the Agency' work with Roms
beginning in 2005.Pending successful completion of this second needs
assessment by the ECMI with Swedish International Development
Cooperation Agency support, similar analyses could be conducted
elsewhere in the region (e.g., Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and
Albania), with follow-on activities designed accordingly.

ECMI Starts a Technical Assistance Project in Romania

At the end of August, the ECMI received funding from the British Foreign
and Commonwealth Office' Global Conflict Prevention Fund to carry out a
technical assistance project in Romania. The project will start in
September and run through March 2005.
The project has two main components: giving technical advice to the
Council on National Minorities (the Council)who will be drafting a law
on the status of national minorities in Romania, after the upcoming
election on 28 November, and providing training on best practices in
minority legislation across Europe and other capacity building
The Council was founded in 1993 and given a revised mandate in 1997.It
is a consultative body for the Romanian government and the Department of
Inter-ethnic Relations (DRI), within the Office of the Prime Minister,
facilitates the Council' work. The Council has 19 minority
representatives. The Council coordinates and supports the activities of
national minority organizations. The Council reapportions government
money toward various minority projects, many dealing with cultural
issues. The Council also makes proposals for the development of legal
provisions vis-a-vis national minorities and it makes proposals to the
DRI concerning administrative and financial matters. The Council has six
expert commissions that deal with issues of concern for Romanian
national minorities. The commissions address legal, social, economic,
cultural, religious and mass media issues.
The DRI works toward promoting the rights of national minorities in
Romania by focusing on education, youth, culture and international
co-operation activities by providing technical and financial support to
organizations active in the field of minority rights, and especially
organizations, who are members of the Council.
The ECMI was pleased to host a visit by the Head of the DRI, State
Secretary Dr.Cristian Jura in March of this year where he discussed
minority issues in Romania with senior ECMI staff. This relationship was
furthered when the ECMI' Dr.Tove Malloy was invited to take part in a
conference in Mangalia, Romania in May on the legal framework on
national minorities in Romania.
At this conference representatives of national minorities were brought
together for the first time by the DRI to draw up an action plan for
drafting a law on national minorities. The ECMI is supporting this
initiative and has entered into cooperation with the DRI.
The ECMI is planning on having several capacity building seminars on
best practices in legal drafting on national minority laws. The ECMI
will also offer legal advice to the drafting committee during and after
the drafting process in hopes of ensuring a high-quality law that will
be adopted by the Parliament. The project will be headed by
D.Christopher Decker, an ECMI Research Associate in the EU Accession
Department and will draw on the expertise of other ECMI staff and
external consultants.

Enhancing Minority Governance in Bulgaria

The ECMI has received funding from the British Foreign and Commonwealth
Office' Global Conflict Prevention Fund to carry out a project to
enhance minority governance in Bulgaria. The project is scheduled to run
from September 2004 to March 2005.
The purpose of the project is to support the efforts of Bulgaria to
achieve genuine improvements in minority governance and long-term
sustainability of related programmes and reforms in public
administration. The project also aims to promote harmonious inter-ethnic
relations before accession to the European Union. The project will bring
together representatives from minority communities, leading minority
NGOs, national and local government and parliament. It will enhance the
quality of governmental action on minority issues. In particular, one of
the objectives is to generate sustainable minority representation in
programming, monitoring and evaluation of projects intended to benefit
minority populations, and to assist in the building of a lasting
partnership network among the participants. Although the project is
primarily focused on minority issues, it will establish standards of
good governance not only in the field of minorities but also impact on
home affairs and economic reform in a broader sense.
With this project, the ECMI provides special competence which is much
needed in contemporary Bulgaria. While it is true that significant
legislative developments have taken place in Bulgaria, it remains a
challenge to implement reform in a thorough and even manner. Sustained
stakeholder involvement in needs assessment, programming, monitoring and
evaluation is currently lacking in Bulgaria, resulting in a lack of
analysis and incorporation of any Lessons learned.
For the development of the much-needed capacity building within the
Bulgarian Government' National Council of Ethnic and Demographic Issues
(the National Council),it is necessary for a sustained stakeholder
involvement in needs assessment, programming, monitoring and evaluation.
Throughout autumn 2003 and spring 2004, the ECMI has carried out
extensive consultations with representatives from the National Council,
other national institutions, lead NGOs and minority representatives. The
consultations identified important needs for ECMI support. The project
will foster effective stakeholder involvement in minority areas and
raise awareness of the resources needed for improved minority
governance, which is essential for the successful integration of the
minority populations.
The project will focus on three specific project areas:
(1) enhancing mobilization and representation of minority populations
and means of contributing to their full and effective participation in
all aspects of economic, public and political life;
(2) combating discrimination;
(3) enhancing access of minority populations to public services 
The project is directed by Tom Trier, Head of Programs and Senior
Research Associate, and project coordination by Magdalena, Regional
Consultant. For more information on the projects contact Mr.Trier at

A New Stand-off in Moldova 's Transdniestrian Region

Moldova is capturing the headlines in the international press again.
This time it is due to the fact that the authorities of the breakaway,
predominantly Slavic-populated, Transdniestrian region tried to close
down the Romanian language schools in the region. The Transdniestrian
authorities claimed that these schools did not follow the registration
procedures and refused to comply with the norms and standards issued by
the educational authorities in Transdniestria.
The Romanian language schools catered to the needs of children primarily
from the ethic Moldovan community, which comprises between 30-40%of
population in Transdniestrian region. Despite its size, the community
has little say in shaping educational and other policies in the
increasingly authoritarian Transdniestrian region. While Moldova shifted
to Latin script-based instructions in its education system in the
beginning of the 1990s, the Transdniestrian schools with instruction in
Romanian language are forced to use the Cyrillic alphabet and
educational programs that were designed in the former USSR.
The only exception was a small number of schools that switched to the
Latin-script instruction and followed educational programs designed by
the Moldovan government. There were 8 or 6 such educational
establishments in Transdniestria, depending on whether one talks to the
Moldovan or Transdniestrian authorities. Among these schools were an
orphanage and a boarding school. All schools were under the jurisdiction
of the Moldovan Ministry of Education.
Coercive actions by the Transdniestrian authorities, involving police
blockades in the schools and detention of some of the protesting
parents, caused an international outcry. The OSCE Permanent Council,
European Union and the Council of Europe all condemned the actions of
Transdniestrian authorities interpreting them as a clear violation of
European standards on human rights and minority rights. The statements
issued by these organizations in July and August also point to the
negative effects that these actions will have on the process of
negotiations about finding a settlement for the fourteen year old
Transdniestrian conflict.
After years of unsuccessful political negotiations between Moldova and
Transdniestria, in which apart from the two conflicting parties also
Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE have been the main actors, some progress
has been seen lately. The OSCE has made it one of its priorities to
address the settlement of the Moldovan Transdniestrian conflict and
ensure the incorporation of Transdniestria into a federalized Moldovan
state. Federalization is increasingly seen by major international actors
as an optimal solution for Moldova. The willingness of the new political
leadership in Moldova, which assumed power after the 2001 parliamentary
elections, to launch serious negotiations on federalization of Moldova
also provided an important impetus for finally finding the solution to
the Transdniestrian conflict
Prior to the eruption of current school closure scandal, significant
efforts on the part of the international mediators (OSCE, Russia, and
Ukraine) were directed at facilitating the process of drafting a
memorandum that aimed to outline the major political principles for a
future federal arrangement. Such a memorandum was seen as a basis for
the continuation of the work of the Joint Constitutional Commission
(JCC), which was created in 2003 and tasked with discussing specific
constitutional provisions and with actual drafting of the constitution.
The JCC consists of two delegations respectively representing Moldova
proper and the breakaway republic of Transdniestria.
The Transndniestrian authorities decision to close down the Romanian
language schools in July 2004 can be seen as an attempt to derail this
process. In June 2004,the Moldovan negotiators agreed to adhere to the
plan of a constitutional settlement proposed by the international
mediators. This plan was published under the title Proposals and
Recommendations of the mediators from the OSCE, the Russian Federation,
and Ukraine with regards to the Transdniestrian settlement in February
2004.The document envisioned the creation of a federal state in which
Transdniestria would have a high decree of autonomy and strong decision
making powers in the areas of regional budget, law and administration,
healthcare, education, and social welfare.
While the part of Moldovan political establishment was rather critical
of the document which was perceived as making too many concessions to
the Transdniestrian separatists, the Moldovan government eventually
agreed to accept this document as a basis for further negotiations on
the constitutional settlement of the Transdniestrian conflict. This
decision of the Moldovan government was made public in the beginning of
summer and was perceived especially by the OSCE mediators as an act of a
good will. It signaled that the Moldovan government, which earlier
declared that its experts were preparing Moldova`s own proposal for the
settlement, was willing to forego its own proposal and was willing to
work with the document prepared by the mediators.
These developments sent the ball of negotiations to the Transdniestrian
side. It was now up to the Transdniestrian leadership whether the
negotiations about the constitutional settlement will continue along the
framework offered by the mediators. Closing the Romanian language
schools and provoking a school crisis might be seen as one way to avoid
dealing with the issue on the part of the Transdniestrian authorities.
Their actions indicate a lack of genuine interest in pursuing the
negotiation agenda proposed by the mediators.
As of the beginning of September, it looks like the school crisis has
not changed any fundamentals in the equation of the Transdniestrian
conflict. Neither of two negotiating parties was able to
strengthen/weaken very substantively their bargaining position, the set
of mediating actors remain the same despite many attempts to change the
format of negotiations, and no viable alternative to the idea of
federalization has so far emerged.
Given the high degree of agreement among major international
organizations and national governments about the necessity to find a
specific formula of a constitutional settlement that would be acceptable
for both parties in the conflict, the ECMI continues to engage in
efforts aimed at finding ways to move the negotiations about the
constitutional framework forward. In particular, the ECMI supports the
expert work of the Moldovan Delegation to the Joint Constitutional
Commission and the activities of a local group of leading academic and
civil society experts that explore the ways of designing such a
constitutional framework that will be acceptable for both the Moldovan
and Transdniestrian sides. In its work the local expert group is
assisted by the leading international experts in conflict management
whose engagement into the negotiation process was also made possible by
the ECMI.

European Yearbook of Minority Issues
Volume 2, 2002/2003


The European Yearbook of Minority Issues provides a critical and timely
review of contemporary developments in minority-majority relations in
Europe. It combines analysis, commentary and documentation in relation
to conflict management, international legal developments and domestic
legislation affecting minorities in Europe.
Part I contains scholarly articles and, in 2002/3, features two special
focus sections (Belgium and New Minorities), accompanied by a
miscellaneous articles section.
Part II reviews the implementation of minority legislation and
international standards at the universal and regional levels as well as
new developments in relation to them and contains a list of
international norms. Apart from providing a unique annual overview of
minority issues for both scholars and practitioners in this field, the
Yearbook will be an indispensable reference tool for libraries, research
institutes as well as governments and international organisations.

*June 2004
*Hardback (x,718 pp.)
*ISBN 90 04 13839 0
*List Price EUR 160 /US $216.
Order details: For North America cs@brillusa.com
For all other customers: brill@extenza-turpin.com

The European Centre for Minority Issues Mission

The European Centre for Minority Issues advances majority-minority
in the wider Europe through action,research and documentation.It
the stabilization of areas of ethno-political tension and
conflict,contributes to
the strengthening of relevant legislation and best practices in
governance and
enhances the capacity of civil society actors and governments to engage
one another in a constructive and sustainable way.

ECMI Upcoming Events

O c t o b e r

07 -10 October
Kosovo Standing Technical Working Group on Returns Training,

18 -22 October
Seventh full meeting of the Working Group on Health Care as part of the
Project Policy Dialogue Initiative. Aim: pre-press conference review,
agreement on presenters at conference.

25 -29 October
Seventh full meeting of the Working Group on Economy as part of the
Project Policy Dialogue Initiative. Aim: pre-press conference review,
agreement on presenters at conference. Assignment: any final
preparations for press conferences.

25 -29 October
Seventh full meeting of the Working Group on Education as part of the
Project Policy Dialogue Initiative. Aim: pre-press conference review,
agreement on presenters at conference.

N o v e m b e r

17 -19 November
ECMI hosts staff members of European Ombudsman institutions involved in
minority protection and human rights work for a study tour of the
German-Danish borger region. The group will be hosted by Mr Jochen Welt,
the Federal commissioner for National Minorities and Ms Renate Schnack,
the Commissioner of the Minister President of the Land of

Publisher: European Centre for Minority Issues, Schiffbrucke 12, D-24939
Flensburg Germany,
info@ecmi.de; www.ecmi.de; tel.+49(0)461 141 490; fax.+49(0)461 141 4919