Europäisches Journal für Minderheitenfragen

ISSN 1865-1089 (Print)
ISSN 1865-1097 (Online)

Abstract Language education policy in the former Yugoslavia is characterized by a physical separation between students according to language (and consequently ethnicity). Such separation does not necessarily amount to segregation in the legal sense and may be a feature of functional autonomy. However, it can arguably prevent reconciliation and long-term social cohesion. The comprehensive peace (and/or status) agreements in place in Kosovo, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have led to similar practices of separation following different models. The article compares from an institutional design perspective the territorial decentralization, devolution of education competences and language recognition features of the Dayton Accords, the Ohrid Framework Agreement and the Ahtisaari Proposal. The main differences between the three cases relate to the devolution of education competences at central and local levels. Their commonalities consist of a constitutionally entrenched delineation of boundaries, minority language rights and the absence of integration as an explicit goal of legislation. Such features do not, however, necessarily prevent the implementation of integration programs seeking a middle ground between accommodation and the outright creation of difference.

Abstract In 1988, the Dolomites Ladin cultural institutes “Micurà de Rü” (in San Martin de Tor/St. Martin in Thurn/San Martino in Badia, South Tyrol, Italy) and “Majon di Fascegn” (in Vich/Vigo di Fassa, Trentino, Italy) appointed Prof. Heinrich Schmid (University of Zurich), an expert in Rhaeto-Romance languages, to formulate guidelines for the creation of a common Dolomites Ladin written language: Ladin Dolomitan. The direct model for it in both linguistic and sociolinguistic terms was to be Rumantsch Grischun, the Romansh Dachsprache [umbrella language] of the Swiss canton of Grisons. But from the very beginning on, the problems in the Dolomites were greater than those in Grisons, as was already made noticeable with the formulation of the Wegleitung [guide], the work on the basic rules of the new written language (manuscript only in 1994 and publication only in 1998). And in contrast to Rumantsch Grischun, Ladin Dolomitan did not have the time to be established even on a rudimentary level, since as early as 2003, the use of two local idioms, Gherdëina in the Val Gardena (in German: Gröden) and Ladin dla Val Badia in the Val Badia (in German: Gadertal), was obligatorily prescribed. With this, the critics of Ladin Dolomitan were in fact right for the time being, but the discussion regarding the necessity of a unified Dolomites Ladin written language could not be stopped by it. It now regularly arises on concrete occasions in which the Dolomites Ladins should (or must) exercise their supralocal rights (for instance, a personal identity card in Ladin) with a local language form.

Abstract The autonomy of South Tyrol, Italy is known to be a best-practice example for the peaceful resolution of ethnic conflicts that were triggered by the moving of the border between Italy and Austria after World War I. Even though the Cimbrians living in Lusèrn are also a German-speaking national minority settled in the same autonomous region as the South Tyroleans (the Autonomous Region of Trentino-South Tyrol), they were located in the Trentino part of the region and thus were not granted the same rights. Furthermore, the Cimbrians living on the Asiago plateau are separated from those other members of their national minority merely by the regional border between Trentino-South Tyrol and Veneto, yet they have no rights of autonomy or minority rights. They recently founded an association to promote their claims for minority rights.

Abstract Democratic processes of the forming of opinions are often painful, irrational, and upon closer examination, rather incomprehensible. That holds true not only for developments and processes at the level of countries oder federal states [Bundesländer], but also in institutions and democratic bodies at lower levels. Thus the founding of the Bukowina-Institut [the Bukovina Institute] in Augsburg twenty-five years ago was also the ending point of a painful process which could be viewed as a model example of democratic debates and conflicts in the interests of the institutions involved. This article describes that process from the view of a contemporary witness who was involved and makes reference to the activities and services of a research institute dedicated to a multiethnic Bukovina. Today, the northern part of Bukovina belongs to Ukraine and the southern part to Romania, and “with its varied history”, it is without a doubt among “the most interesting regions of Europe”.