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The International Protection Regime for Minorities, the Aftermath of the 2008 Financial Crisis and the EU: New Challenges for Non-State Actors

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This article examines the reasons why European institutions and in particular the European Commission support a range of public interest groups that exert advocacy on behalf of minority rights. It argues that supported groups are notably those that provide political legitimacy to the European project, those that provide an alternative channel of representation for politically weak minority groups thereby offering them a needed and alternative channel of representation, and those that contribute to a mythology of the European Union by emphasising the concept of human rights and thus providing the European Union (EU) with a distinctive and needed political identity. Among the groups that fulfil these criteria are those who lobby on behalf of migrants and ethnic minorities. The article points out the role of these groups in combating racism and xenophobia and argues that this role has become more important following the financial crisis of 2008 and a related mounting rivalry within EU Member States for resources of the welfare state.

Affiliations: 1: Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Leicester, UK

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