This book provides a critical evaluation of the ways in which EU law engages with minority rights protection: at its core is an analysis of EU law and minority rights. Unlike the UN or ECHR, the EU has no competence to set standards on minority protection and this has been a point of disappointment for minority rights advocates. Indeed, this book will demonstrate that, in EU law, binding standards really only exist in the sphere of non-discrimination and are at their strongest in the field of employment. As such, binding standards within EU law affect only a small proportion of the canon of minority rights. However, the EU does have competence to promote diversity and facilitate redistribution of power and resources across the EU. According to a broad understanding of minority rights protection, acts of promotion and facilitation -alongside those of standard-setting - constitute essential underpinnings for minority protection. The EU's existing competences do therefore play a key role in minority protection. In order to support these conclusions, the book undertakes a comprehensive examination of the impact of EU law on minority rights protection.
The book examines a broad range of the EU's legal provisions and principles which may affect minority protection, before undertaking in-depth analyses of the examples of minority cultural rights and minority linguistic rights. In addition, the final substantive chapter of the book contextualises the impact of EU law within the perspective of the overall needs of a specific group - the Roma minority. The concluding chapter draws together the EU's contribution to minority rights. In short, the EU can be seen as a promoter, but not a protector, of minority rights. Although not ideal, especially from the perspective of minorities, it is worth at least exploring such a view. Such an exploration would enable the EU most easily to build upon its existing competences and regulatory capacities.
This book will be of interest to lawyers and activists concerned with minority rights and Roma rights protection within the EU. It will also be of relevance to those interested in understanding the dynamics between the EU and the international law community in overlapping areas of rights protection, and exploring how this informs our perception of the capacity of the EU to be a central actor in the field of rights protection.