17 Colum. J. Eur. L. 57 (2010)
Kristin Henrard, Professor of Minority Protection and Associate Professor of Constitutional Law and Human Rights at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Notwithstanding the absence of an explicit minority policy for internal purposes, it is possible to identify the gradual emergence of a minority-conscious implementation of non-minority specific E.U. policies (non-discrimination, social inclusion, integration, human rights, and cultural diversity). Nevertheless, this is not equally strong in all policy domains. It is argued here that a clear difference emerges between the approaches towards minorities, in particular towards new, immigrant minorities, in terms of socioeconomic integration (the socio-economic sphere) on the one hand and in terms of cultural integration and identity protection (the cultural, identity sphere) on the other. Policies of relevance for socio-economic integration are rather elaborate and (semi) inclusive in the sense that they also benefit new minorities from outside the E. U. (third country nationals-TCNs- as opposed to E. U citizens). The E.U. ‘s cultural diversity policy is more modest and moves only hesitantly from a minority agnostic, over a modest attention to indigenous minorities (only) to an inclusive approach towards both traditional and new (TCN) minorities.
In the end the picture that emerges can be related to visions (of the E. U institutions) about Europe and European identity in relation to the overarching goal of “European integration.” Arguably, the integration process is becoming gradually more inclusive, with the socio-economic dimension of integration apparently working as a trigger for the dimension encompassing culture and cultural identity.