The European Union (EU) is an area without internal frontiers in which goods, services and people can move freely. The absence of internal frontiers is an important prerequisite for the establishment of the internal market. At the same time, it sets major challenges for EU policy maker as it requires them to formulate smart legislation that pursues two goals concurrently. That is to say, policy makers are asked to formulate legislation that restrict free movement in order to prevent irregular migration and transfers from occurring, but that also obstruct the development of the internal market as little as possible. Particularly in the area of the equal treatment of EU citizens this balancing exercise has proved to be everything but straightforward. This becomes clear from case law of the European Court of Justice determining the content of and limitations to the right to equal treatment of EU citizens. In this paper this is illustrated by studying the issue of reverse discrimination and by focusing particularly on the difficulties arising from the legality of reverse discrimination in family reunification cases. In this article it is explained what reverse discrimination entails and why it is still accepted in the EU. Consquently, it is discussed that whilst many commentators have advocated abolishing the legality of reverse discrimination in order to allow EU citizens to fully enjoy their right to equal treatment, this may not be the panacea.

Keywords: equal treatment, reverse discrimination, EU law, European citizenship, family reunification

Articolul complet (în engleză)

Minority protection did not receive attention in the original EC treaty of 1956. The concept of nondiscrimination of laborers and later of EU citizens became the cornerstone for minority protection. Gradually the EU became familiar with the concept of human rights because of judgments of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). This concept has officially been introduced in the 2009 Lisbon Treaty, which includes the rights of persons belonging to minorities and has been elaborated in Article 21 of the EU Charter of Human Rights. If the Charter is not applicable, minorities have to address national legal instances where there is no say for the EU regarding minorities. In this paper, I will demonstrate that the complex European legal system is not easy to understand in terms of protection of minorities. Recently, the ECJ has decided in the CHEZ versus Nikolova case that it can empower lower national courts against measures of systematic discrimination against minorities based on EU equality directives and Article 21 of the Charter. This verdict together with the EU Commission‘s intention to give the Charter a broad practical legal context shown in the working areas of the Fundamental Rights Agency, should ensure national minorities that European institutions pay really attention to their problems.
Keywords: minority policy, minority protection, EU Charter of Human Rights, EU equality law, Fundamental Rights Agency

Articolul complet (în engleză)

An economic analysis of language rights takes its point of departure in individual preferences. Individuals attribute values to different allocations of language rights. One then compares the implementation costs to the aggregate value attributed to the rights by the individuals; a certain allocation of rights should then be implemented if the aggregate value exceeds the costs of realizing the allocation. The costs of implementing a certain right are as a rule both conceptually and practically well defined. Generally they will decrease per capita when the number of beneficiaries increases. This implies that optimal rules should be expressed in terms of a “critical mass” of beneficiaries. 

The definition of value is more difficult and, hence, more interesting. As in any cost-benefit analysis, the point of departure is the individual propensities of pay for the rights allocation. The benchmark is then that rights should be realized if aggregated benefits exceed costs. The benchmark, however, has to be modified in different directions. Modifications are necessary if:

  • rights increase the status of the language and this in turn increases the individual propensities to pay (more rights should be implemented than in the benchmark case).
  • rights increase the size of future generations using the language (more rights should be implemented than in the benchmark case).
  • rights decrease the size of future generations using other languages (fewer rights should be implemented than in the benchmark case due to the concave cost structure).
  • the speakers of the language are poorer than speakers of other languages and the government wants to redistribute in favor of the poor (more rights should be implemented than in the benchmark case).
  • linguistic diversity is a good in itself and the language is small and threatened (more rights should be implemented than in the benchmark case).
    The practical legal realization of language rights depends in part on the federal structure of the state.
    A sensible federal structure depends on the geographical distribution of the speakers of the languages.
    Manipulations of the federal structure can then be used by a majority to discriminate a minority.
    Keywords: language rights, linguistic justice, efficiency, status planning, federalism, linguistic discrimination

Articolul complet (în engleză)

The paper presents the case study of a newly launched – or re-launched – dairy cooperative in Szeklerland, and investigates how different layers of local traditions, new views of rurality and new roles of peasantry, as well as ethnic struggles interplayed in its formation and functioning. While the cooperative can primarily be perceived as a local economic institution, its analysis offers the possibility to shed a new light on the connections between different levels in agri-businesses and on the different, seemingly non-economic factors acting from the background. The cooperative was launched in 2012 within a favorable framework of other local, ethnic initiatives, but it is seen as the successor of a successful cooperative that was nationalized in 1948. Two strong historical experiences shaped its launching: the successes of cooperatives before WWII and the failures and negative impacts of cooperatives during socialism. The investigation can unfold the ways how these discursive strategies, the emergence of new rural elite, the restructuring of agriculture, the idea of autonomy and a sort of ethnic economy gave impetus or impeded the functioning of the cooperative and its shift from subsistence to market.
Keywords: market, local–global, community, cooperation, ethnic struggles, autonomy

Articolul complet (în engleză)

With the rise of globalization and Europeanization Hungarian ethno-linguistic minorities in the Carpathian Region have become ‘mobile’ in the broadest sense of the concept. This has allowed them to become independent actors in all sorts of transnational configurations. In Marácz (2014a), one of these transnational configurations has been characterized as a ‘quadratic nexus’ with at least four different actors, one of them being the ethno-linguistic minority. In this paper, I will argue that an analysis of inter-ethnic relations in terms of local dynamics, like the one elaborated in Brubaker et al. (2006) for the Romanian-Hungarian relations in the multi-ethnic, multilingual region of Romania’s Transylvania is no longer adequate against the backdrop of globalization and Europeanization. Instead ethno-linguistic minorities interact with all sorts of political, cultural, communicative, and socio-economic global and transnational networks that affect the local relations, i.e., both everyday ethnicity and the power relations.
Keywords: ethno-linguistic relations, ethnic Hungarians in Transylvania, transnational configurations, quadratic nexus, minority, and language rights

Articolul complet (în engleză)

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