Europäisches Journal für Minderheitenfragen

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

Abstract In the 1980s, a seven point concept was drawn up for language planning for Rhaeto-Romanic in the Swiss canton of Grisons. Considerable progress was achieved both in corpus planning (standardization and language development) and in status planning (language rights, the position of the language within state and society, media, education, language loyalty, cultural activities). Nevertheless, Romansh remains potentially endangered. The linguistic territory is becoming increasingly marginalized in economic terms, the birth rates in the areas of origin are shrinking, and within the growing linguistic diaspora, legal protection of the language is lacking. Without constant and varied measures both within and outside of the linguistic territory, that which has been achieved can no longer be ensured and the future of the language cannot be arranged sustainably. Both the state and linguistic organisations are challenged by the preservation of the language, a process that not only incurs costs, but also generates the creation of value.

Abstract This article addresses the question of how Denmark and Germany organize minority protection in their border region of Schleswig. Its focus is on the institutions which enable national minorities and the people belonging to them to use their civil rights and which protect them by way of political participation. It illustrates how these institutions function and reports the results of a survey amongst the people belonging to national minorities in which they were asked about their satisfaction with special possibilities for political participation. They were also asked to evaluate the performance of national minority parties, national minority cultural organizations and special institutions for contact with the government and parliament. The article presents the first empirical study of national minority members’ satisfaction with their possibilities for political participation in the Danish-German border region.

Abstract The party of the Danish minority in Northern Germany, the Südschleswigscher Wählerverband [South Schleswig Voter Federation, or SSW], benefits from special treatment with elections. While there is a generally applicable 5% threshold for parties to qualify for the Landtag [state parliament] in Schleswig-Holstein, the SSW is exempt from this threshold. After the 2012 state election, the SSW, which would not have been present in the parliament without the exemption, was able to cast the deciding votes to make a centre-left government possible. The threshold exemption was then challenged before the state constitutional court on several grounds, chief of which was that the exemption itself was in breach of the state constitution. Two other major issues were the contention that the SSW is no longer a party of the minority, and the questioning of the very existence of a Danish minority. The outcome of the 2013 court decision was a narrow four to three vote in favour of the exemption.