States and National Minorities in the European Union
November 18, 2011
APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper
The starting point of the paper is the remarkable proliferation of autonomy rights for national minorities within EU member-states. That several long-standing sub-state nationalisms whose claims to rights of self-determination (full or limited) had remained futile for many decades have successfully negotiated autonomy recently, i.e. while the states at which they directed their claims were either EU members or candidates for membership suggests that the European polity is causally involved in altering the relations between central states and national minorities: the EU, it appears, makes autonomy more likely, but it is unclear by what mechanisms it does so.
The paper explores this question in three steps: First, I frame state-minority relations in the Hirschmannian terms of exit, voice, and loyalty and theorize the connection between multilevel governance, the softening of sovereignty claims, and the ability of states and rights-seeking minorities to arrive at mutually acceptable autonomy designs; second, I attempt to reconstruct the mechanisms by which the EU changes state-minority relations in a manner that encourages agreements on autonomy as a third way between secession and the status quo; and third I argue that the EU polity makes it not only possible that states and minorities compromise on autonomy as a common second preference, but may even make autonomy their shared first preference .
Number of Pages in PDF File: 20working papers series
Date posted: August 1, 2011 ; Last revised: November 20, 2011
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