In order to gain access to the EU, nations must be seen to implement formal instruments that protect the rights of minorities. This book examines the ways in which these tools have worked in a number of post-communist states, and explores the interaction of domestic and international structures that determine the application of these policies.
Using empirical examples and comparative cases, the text explores three levels of policy-making: within sub-state and national politics, and within international agreements, laws and policy blueprints. This enables the authors to establish how domestic policymakers negotiate various structural factors in order to interpret rights norms and implement them long enough to gain EU accession. Showing that it is necessary to focus upon the states of post-communist Europe as autonomous actors, and not as mere recipients of directives and initiatives from ‘the West’, the book shows how underlying structural conditions allow domestic policy actors to talk the talk of rights protection without walking the walk of implementing minority rights legislation on their territories.
Introduction: Talking the Talk? / 1. The Workings of International Regime / 2. Nation-State Building in Transition from Communism / 3. European Nation-States and Minority Representation / 4. Extoling Minority Rights and Implementing Policies / 5. Excluding Roma from the Scope of Minority Policy / 6. Policies for Minority Settlement Beyond State-Bounded Territories / 7. Minority Rights for Migrant Communities / Conclusion: Walking Out on Minority Rights? / Bibliography / Index
In studying the impact of post-Communist EU member states' minority policies on European-wide norms, Agarin and Cordell have turned the established methodological paradigm on its head. Their innovative and original approach yields powerful insights into the dynamics whereby governmental responses to ethno-cultural tensions can aggravate and institutionalize the very problems they are ostensibly designed to address. A timely and arresting contribution.
In this rich and insightful discussion, Agarin and Cordell expertly explain how EU rules on minorities have not successfully improved minority conditions in Eastern Europe. They convincingly use historical institutionalism to highlight the role of domestic institutions in framing elite options and preserving the status quo. Case examples of the Roma as well as refugees and migrants are especially timely and poignant.
A must read for academics and practitioners. Agarin and Cordell provide a compelling account of policy-making dynamics that prioritise nation-states and national majorities in post-communist Europe. This tremendous book shows how and why the European minority rights regime has entrenched power inequalities in the region.
Agarin and Cordell’s book is particularly compelling for practitioners and academics interested in the dynamics of policy making in the post-communist European states … For those who are new to the framework of policy implementation targeting minority protection, the book is an invaluable introduction and in-depth study. For scholars who study the dynamics of domestic and international structures, the volume is a must-read establishing new perspectives of pressing problems, including the cases of Roma, migrants, and refugees.
Timofey Agarin and Karl Cordell’s much-welcomed book is a great contribution to this debate and enriches the scholarship on eastern Europe by presenting a number of postcommunist states in their new role, that of a well-established member of the European Union.
Karl Cordell is Emeritus Professor of Politics at Plymouth University.
Timofey Agarin is Lecturer in Comparative Politics and Ethnic Conflict at Queen’s University Belfast.