Protecting minorities in the EU: Towards a comprehensive system

Although the protection of minorities has been a key EU priority in the enlargement process as a condition for candidate countries to accede to the EU, a similar scrutiny mechanism is lacking after accession. A new study prepared by the Justice and Home Affairs unit at CEPS presents the state of play regarding the main challenges in the protection of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities in a selection of 11 European countries, in light of existing international and regional legal standards. Their research was enriched by discussions held with focus groups in Brussels and by the responses to an online questionnaire submitted by 84 representatives of civil society and national equality bodies.

The findings highlight that issues of minority rights and the rule of law are intrinsically interlinked and mutually reinforcing. The final report suggests specific ways in which a Union Pact for democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights could help to ensure a comprehensive EU approach to minority protection.

The study was requested by the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE Committee). The findings are expected to feed into the European Parliament’s annual report on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU in 2016.

Download the report at