Volume 15 (2009) / Issue 3
This article is intended to provide a contrast to the criticisms raised by the EU in relation to its lack of concrete protection of minority rights. It explores the potentials of the EU’s existing legal framework in this field. Although competence on linguistic diversity (and indeed other aspects of minority rights) remains firmly with the EU Member States, nonetheless there are a variety of ways in which the EU’s ever-expanding activities can affect those rights. This article takes account of both present and potential impacts of EU law on linguistic rights; the assumption being that the scope of legal provisions as they stand need to be understood thoroughly before one can move on to assessing in a more informed manner the necessity for reform and the content of that reform. This article views the EU’s performance as part of the wider international community and thus, for present purposes, compares the EU’s progress on minority linguistic rights, with that of the Council of Europe and the United Nations. This article does not, however, exclude the value of assessing the EU according to other benchmarks, such as national law, and thus recognizes its contribution constitutes only one angle of a much wider, valuable debate.
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