South Tyrol has a special status within the Italian Constitution. The
Gruber-Degasperi Agreement signed between Austria and Italy in Paris in 1946
imposed international obligations upon Italy in order to protect the Germanspeaking
minority in South Tyrol (obligations that were later enlarged to include
the Ladin-speaking minority, as well). These international obligations consisted
of the realisation of a substantial degree of self-government for the protected
minorities by granting them comprehensive legislative and administrative autonomy.
This autonomy is enshrined in the so-called “Special Statute”, a constitutional
law based on Article 116 of the Italian Constitution, which defi nes fi ve “special”
regions with a higher degree of autonomy than the other so-called “ordinary”
regions, thus creating a system of asymmetric regionalism. In 2001, the section
of the Italian Constitution that was dedicated to the relations between the different
territorial levels of the Republic was reformed. The reform was aimed at
giving more autonomy to “ordinary” regions and to local communities. In 2014,
the Renzi Government proposed a constitutional reform that would once again
reframe the relationship between state and regions. Both constitutional reforms
contain a “protection clause” which in principle leaves the autonomy for South
Tyrol unchanged as long as the Special Statute is not amended.
This article first describes the constitutional reform of 2001, concentrating
on the effects and repercussions it had and continues to have on legislative and administrative autonomy in South Tyrol. Secondly, the main areas of the Renzi
reform proposal are presented to the extent that they concern South Tyrol, followed
by an analysis of the “protection clause” and the possible consequences of
the reform for legislative and administrative autonomy in South Tyrol.
In comparing the wording of the original text and its translations, the
article highlights the basic features of the 1946 Italian-Austrian Agreement on
South Tyrol, which only in part are in line with the by now usual irenic reading
of the document. An appreciation is given in the article to the exclusive role of
language, the difference between minority and group, the Habsburg legacy and
the peculiar idea of economic development underlying the Agreement.
For more than thirty years, France has been in a process of territorial
reform. Recently, the government of Manuel Valls that is currently in office
developed a new concept through the course of 2014 according to which the
number of regions should be cut in half. The result was that through corresponding
mergers, the number of regions in France was reduced from twentytwo
to thirteen. While the territorial form of the regions of Corsica and Brittany
remained unchanged, another important minority region, Alsace, lost its
regional distinctness as a result of its merger with two other regions – Lorraine
and Champagne-Ardenne. Against this background, this article deals first of all
with the region reform in general, its reasons, backgrounds, and effect, and it
then analyses the causes of the inadequate results of the French decentralisation
policy. In a second step, the author examines the situation in Alsace in this regard
and the possible effects of the reform upon Alsatian identity.
By its very definition, the EJM has been conceived as a scholarly journal
for topics from the area of the safeguarding of the cultural existence and
identity of national minorities, doing so against the background of the minorities
issue that has once again become virulent since the great changes in Europe
starting in 1989/1990. Within that context, the focus – or, in any case, the principal
focus – of the journal is the so-called old (autochthonous, traditional) minorities.
This leads very generally to the question of what in fact is to be understood by
the term “national minority”. At the level of international law, there has thus far
not been any agreement on a legally binding defi nition of this term or any other
used synonymously. In addition, there are opinions within the field which do not
consider a definition of minority under international law to be either possible or
sensible and, moreover, reject a fundamental differentiation between old and new
(allochthonous, especially immigrant) minorities.
The author uses this starting situation as an opportunity to reflect upon the
sense and limits of a defi nition of minorities under international law, as well as
upon the possible sense of a fundamental differentiation between old and new
minorities. The article is intentionally limited to the legal perspective and is kept
rather in a thesis style. It is to be understood as food for thought and discussion on
a central aspect of the thematic area of minorities which, in the author’s opinion,
requires going further into depth, in particular at the interdisciplinary level.
In 1974 the Autonomous Province of South Tyrol signed an agreement
with four German-speaking broadcasters from Austria, Germany and Switzerland
(ORF, ZDF, ARD and SGR) for the free provision of their programs. As a result
of this and the subsequent establishment of the South Tyrolean Broadcaster
(Rundfunkanstalt Südtirols) (RAS) in 1975, the country was able to be supplied
with radio and television programs from German and Ladin-speaking countries
abroad. At the time, this was a pioneering measure, which recognized very early
the importance of the media for the protection of minorities, which in the meantime
has become generally acknowledged. The article attempts to highlight, starting
from the South Tyrolean example, the importance of the audio visual media for
the protection of minorities, especially from the point of view of language usage.
When you think of Estonian national minorities, it is usually the Russians
that come to mind. Interestingly, however, there also exist in this northern
Baltic country several autochthonous Finno-Ugric ethnic groups and among
those, one counts the Setos. The Setos are a small ethnic and religious minority (a
few thousand individuals), living in eastern Estonia as well as to a certain extent
in the neighbouring Russian Pskov Oblast. They belong to the Russian Orthodox
Church, speak a south-eastern Estonian dialect and have a number of peculiarities
in their way of life and customs, e.g. costumes, dancing, singing, etc. The
following article gives a short presentation of this people.
Chalvin, Antoine: Les Setos d’Estonie. Collection “Peuples en péril”. 154 S. Éditions Armeline, Brest 2015. Brosch. EUR 12,00 | Hofmann, Rainer/Angst, Doris/Lantschner, Emma/Rautz, Günther/Rein, Detlev (Hrsg): Rahmenübereinkommen zum Schutz nationaler Minderheiten. Handkommentar. 616 S. Nomos/facultas/Dike, Baden Baden/Wien/Zürich/St. Gallen 2015. Geb. EUR 72,00 | Pan, Christoph/Pfeil, Beate Sibylle/Videsott, Paul: Die Volksgruppen in Europa. Handbuch der europäischen Volksgruppen Band 1, 2., überarbeitete und aktualisierte Auflage. XLIX, 477 S. Verlag Österreich, Wien/Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, Berlin 2016. Geb. EUR 88,00