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MRG briefing urges minority component in EC Country Strategy Papers

20 March 2003

Minorities do not figure adequately in the analysis for preparing European Commission Country Strategy Papers (CSPs) and in the final CSPs produced, an MRG briefing paper highlights today. MRG’s briefing paper has been prepared to assist staff of the European Commission in drafting and assessing Country Strategy Papers (CSPs) in an effort to improve the content and impact of these CSPs vis-à-vis minority groups.

Several keys points have been highlighted for consideration in regard to minorities which include the need for recognition, participation, non-discrimination and disaggregated data to allow governments to target reform measures appropriately. Crucially MRG’s paper also establishes that attention to minority issues may have implications for the long-term sustainability of development and conflict prevention. MRG highlights four key reasons why the absence of a minority perspective is problematic:

  1. Ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities are present in every country with which the EU cooperates. Their economic, political and social position should therefore be reflected in some capacity in the CSP.
  2. Minorities rights are part of the framework of international human rights and democracy to which the EU has committed strongly. These rights should therefore factor into the CSP’s analysis of human rights within the political, economic and social situation in the country.
  3. Minorities are often marginalized and lack equal access to political and public participation. They therefore need support from international organisations to encourage their government to pay increased attention to redressing this marginalization and lack of participation.
  4. Attention to minorities is crucial for long-term sustainability of peace and development. Where CSPs ignore the situation of minorities they potentially overlook existing tensions in countries that could, if not resolved, lead to conflict. Proposed development strategies within the CSP could unknowingly contribute to these tensions if the impact of strategies on minorities is not considered.

Download the briefing as a PDF.