Tove H. Malloy

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Concepts of Non-Territorial Autonomy: Agreements, or Arrangements?

The concept of non-territorial autonomy (NTA) has been known since the final years of the Habsburg Monarchy. It was developed as a means to accommodate ethno-cultural groups claiming special privileges in matters pertaining to the maintenance and survival of their cultural identity and traditions. Since then, States wishing to foster social unity have refined the concept and implemented it to varying degrees of entrenchment. Drawing on legal analysis, experts have established a hierarchical order of NTA paradigms using depth, or the extent of vertical legal competences, as an indicator of entrenchment. Some contemporary NTA paradigms have, however, developed through alternative methods of entrenchment. Using both legal and political indicators, this article questions the legal-only approach to assessing entrenchment by examining three different types of NTA implemented in Finland, Germany, and Hungary. By applying an indicator of scope in terms of areas of public administration where degrees of competences reach into private law, examination of these three examples reveals that the way duties are defined in delivery of public services may influence the assessment of entrenchment, and hence, the order of hierarchy. On this basis, the article queries the general perspective that the degree of NTA entrenchment emanates only from a comprehensive legal agreement and entertains the notion that duties in public service delivery may also influence the assessment of entrenchment as an arrangement.

For more on this topic, see Vol. 63 (2020) of the German Yearbook of International Law here .


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