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Case Law of the European Court on Human Rights Concerning Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities during 2014: About Differential Margins of Appreciation and the Role of the Prohibition of Discrimination

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The Court’s case law regarding ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities during 2014 reveals that in several respects it leaves (de facto) less margin of appreciation to states, focusing on the effective protection of minorities’ fundamental rights. In other respects, the Court seemingly prefers to not take a clear stance, and rather grants states a wide margin of appreciation. Overall, the Court is adamant about state obligations to tolerate ethnic and religious minorities and to protect them against private violence. Positive state obligations to accommodate minorities and their special needs and special “way of life” appear still too controversial and devoid of European consensus for the Court to take a stance. Nevertheless, the developments pertaining to the Court’s scrutiny of models of state–church relations demonstrate that the “lack of European consensus” is subject to a relative and evolutive assessment.


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