Exploring the Nucleus of an Internal Regime of Minority Rights in the EU

Senior Common Room, Birmingham Law School
Wednesday 5 October 2011 (12:30-14:00)

If you wish to attend please contact Dr. Veronica Rodriguez-Blanco at v.rodriguez-blanco@bham.ac.uk

Staff Research Seminar: Dr Gulara Guliyeva


The necessity of internal minority protection in the EU has finally been addressed with the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. Thus, Article 2 TEU asserts that the EU is founded on inter alia respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. In addition, Article 21(1) of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (CFR) provides for equality and non-discrimination based on inter alia membership of a national minority. Furthermore, Article 22 CFR stipulates that the EU will ‘respect cultural, religious and linguistic diversity’. This paper argues that Article 2 TEU read together with Articles 21 and 22 CFR constitute the nucleus of a minority rights regime in the EU. Potentially, this nucleus could be further strengthened through the general principles of EU law and the constitutional traditions common to Member States, as well as the EU’s accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (Part 1). Having overviewed the content and scope of Articles 2 TEU, 21 and 22 CFR and the general principles of EU law, the paper then questions whether an EU action on minority protection should go beyond the current framework. In particular, Part 2 of the paper discusses the legitimacy of EU action on minority rights and the limits imposed on the use of EU competences by the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. Finally, Part 3 discusses the effectiveness and benefits of devising an EU regime of minority protection. In conclusion, the paper acknowledges that an EU regime of minority rights is at its infancy and to devise an effective regime of minority rights, the EU needs to acquire the necessary competences from the Member States. What is needed at this stage is a clear political commitment of the EU and its Member States to take the issue of minority rights seriously.

Discussant: Professor Anthony Arnull

  • Staff Research Seminars take place at 1pm in the Senior or Junior Common Room, Birmingham Law School
  • A sandwich lunch and a glass of wine will be provided from 12:30
  • Postgraduate students and academic staff are welcome to attend.

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