The Political Participation of National Minorities in the Enlargement Process: the Case of Albania and FYR of Macedonia

AuthorOdeta Berberi
PositionUniversity of Tirana
European Journal of Economics, Law and Social Sciences
IIPCCL Publishing, Graz-Austria
Vol. 1 No. 1
January 2017
ISSN 2519-1284
Acces online at
The Political Participation of National Minorities in the Enlargement Process:
the Case of Albania and FYR of Macedonia
PhD (C.) Odeta Berberi
University of Tirana
In the last decade an increasing number of authors have studied the EU transformative power
in Central Eastern Europe. In this paper I will analyse the impact of the enlargement process
in the political participation of national minorities in Western Balkans. With the term “impact”
I mean the absorption of formal and informal rules, procedures, norms and practices and I
am going to analyze the relation European Union/Western Balkans as unidirectional i.e. the
transposing of EU rules on accession countries. For this reason the EU requirements concerning
the right to political participation of national minorities in the concerning countries, will be
analysed. In the second part it will be analyzed how the EU requirements on the national
minority participation has been ‘translated’ in Macedonia and Albania. In this paper I will
combine a review of the academic literature on the topic with the illustration of practical case
study from the Western Balkans.
Keywords: EU enlargement, Western Balkans, political participation, FYR of Macedonia, Albania.
When it comes to minority rights, it is important to make an important distinction
between the internal and external dimension of the EU. Other studies (Henrad 2009,
Hughes 2003) have stressed this distinction not only when it comes to minority rights
but in a more enlarged dimension such as human rights. For the purposes of this paper
I will refer to the term ‘internal dimension” of EU as the development of the acquis and
the tradition of European Union Member States concerning minority rights. Instead
with the term “external dimension” I will refer to the EU standards and criteria applied
in the relationship with ‘member to be’ countries in the accession process.
Back to the establishment of the regional organization, it is important to stress the
complete absence in the founding documents of the principles of human rights and
minority rights. This omission was justi ed by the exclusive economic grounds of
the new Union.1 There are some novelties with the Treaty of Rome of 25 March 1957,
concerning the inclusion of some rights but nevertheless the rights included were
related to the functioning of the European Economic Community.2 From the Treaty
of Rome there were some tentative3 to include more human rights principles in the
1 The Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC Treaty) was signed in Par-
is in 1951 and brought France, Germany, Italy and the Benelux countries together in a Community
with the aim of organizing free movement of coal and steel and free access to sources of production.
2 In speci c, in the text the free movement of workers was included and the prohibition of discrimi-
nation of workers based on their nationality or sex.
3 Joint Declaration by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission signed in Lux-
embourg on 5 April 1977.

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