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Quiet Diplomacy, the European Union and Conflict Prevention: Learning from the HCNM on Issues of Social Cohesion

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This article examines the issue of social cohesion inside the European Union (EU). While the organisation is currently experiencing an economic crisis the article argues that issues surrounding minority rights are deeper and more troubling. Within the EU’s current and prospective borders there remain issues surrounding national minorities, traditional migrants and intra-EU migrants. The intra-EU migrants are of particular interest in that they bridge the gap between the other two groups as they are migrants – with EU protected rights. This article argues that the EU itself must become involved in the maintenance of social cohesion. It recommends the use of quiet diplomacy, best illustrated by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe High Commissioner on National Minorities. After an examination of the use of quiet diplomacy by the various High Commissioners the article outlines the issues of social cohesion facing the EU. It concludes with the recommendation that the European Commission adopt the tenets of quiet diplomacy as a means of influencing dialogue and to promote minority protection within the union.

Affiliations: 1: Assistant Professor of Political Science, Laurentian University Barrie Campus, Barrie, ON, Canada


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