Tove H. Malloy

My professional website

Archive for national minorities

Linguistic Minority Rights in the Danish-German Border Region: Reciprocity and Public Administration Policies

Language equality is not public policy in Denmark or Germany, and either country has adopted an official state language constitutionally. Both countries protect minority languages through regional and local statutes on culture and education and have signed relevant international standards on linguistic rights for minorities and protection of regional or minority languages. The German federal system devolves competences on minorities to the sub-state level empowering among other the Schleswig-Holstein local parliament to legislate on minority matters, whereas the Danish centralised system follows a pragmatic approach leaving minority language issues to municipalities without legislative powers. Neither system is very transparent, nor comprehensive. This has created consternation and dissatisfaction among the national minorities residing in the Danish-German border region resulting in recent tensions in the municipalities in Southern Denmark, whereas the government of Schleswig-Holstein decided in 2015 to address the issue with policy reforms for public administration. The latter process looks promising while also posing a number of problematic issues for the local government. This article focuses on linguistic minority rights in the Danish-German border region with specific attention to minority languages in public administration and specifically to the on-going reforms in Schleswig-Holstein.

For more on this topic, check out my latest article (co-authored with Sonja Wolf) in the International Journal on Minority and Group Rights here (paywall).



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