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Defining the Indefinable: A Definition of ‘Minority’ in EU Law

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Chapter Summary

This chapter proposes a definition of 'minority in context of European Community (EU) law. Prior to this, it examines whether there is in fact a need for such a definition in EU law. The chapter then investigates whether the various adjectives that often precede the term 'minority' impact on its content. It overviews some definitional aspects of 'national', 'indigenous', 'new', 'racial', 'ethnic', 'religious' and 'linguistic' minorities, and establishes how these labels affect the content and scope of the definition. The chapter then deconstructs three influential definitions of 'minority' proposed by Capotorti, Deschenes and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Each of the common elements of these definitions, including both objective and subjective criteria, is discussed in detail.

Keywords: Capotorti; Deschenes; European Community (EU) law; minority; PACE



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