What Can We Learn From South Tyrol About EU Minority Rights? 🇪🇺

It is undoubtable that memberships of the European Union, the institutions of the EU as well as the harmonisation of laws have brought positive changes for the minorities of the member states in many areas. One of these changes is the autonomous region of South Tyrol which has become the role model across Europe for how to handle any minority issues. A recently launched EU initiative aimed at protecting minorities has gathered a lot from the model.

How does one become a minority?

Until now EU laws have only considered those groups minorities that are represented in lower numbers than the rest of the inhabitants, those who consist a nation. Nevertheless, EU laws have not been able to resolve a certain issue which caused minorities problems that slow them down and stop them from developing and thriving. Namely, in those areas where minorities are represented in large numbers, furthermore, they might consist the majority, why are they not entitled similar rights to the majority of the entire nation?

South Tyrol managed to avoid this legal trap successfully when it became a Euroregion in 1996. However, countless number of other minorities are still waiting for the European institutions, which have become much more rigid since 1996, to realise that laws aimed at protecting minorities should be created in a way that is worthy of the 21st century. In addition, since South Tyrol is one of the most developed regions in the European Union, we might as well say that the economic effects of this success are not to be underestimated.

Economy is a rather important matter when it comes to creating laws. A certain minority can live in the highest security if their access to resources of survival does not depend on the will of the majority, or the centralised institutions. Furthermore, the minority should not be forced to be dependent on the “mother nation” exclusively, which can often mean a system of relations that is a burden for both parties, thus resulting the disappearance of unique cultural characteristics, even if the aim is the direct opposite.

What do those say who launched this EU Initiative?

According to the minority of Székelys, who are a majority themselves within their territory of Székelyland in Rumania, the European Union should create the institution of “National Regions”. This would mean that those territories that can be circumscribed geographically and a certain minority is represented as majority or has a large number of inhabitants should be recognised by the European Union. Those who live here should have autonomy from state institutions when it comes to using EU resources, developmental directions and so on.

The state and the majority that consists its nation should receive this initiative positively, as a really bad scenario can be avoided this way. A scenario when a minority can only have its self-identity in ghettos, leaving, in many cases, impoverished territories. Based on the principle that economical development is the fundamental interest of not only the minority but also the state and its majority nation, that the opportunity of growth can be the secret of eternal peace, a citizen who thinks responsibly using European parameters can do no other but sign the EU initiative about National Regions, which you can do here. For further information, visit the initiative’s website: signiteurope.com