Monday, February 18, 2008

List of Wannabes

At Nosemonkey's Eutopia you will find a post titled "States of mind" which contains a list of what he calls "wannabe countries".

Here you have and extract of that post:

Some are more economically viable, some less; some are more uniform in their national identity, some more controversial; some are more of a joke. But all, really, have similar claims to independent status as Kosovo - and many are associated with the European Parliament’s European Free Alliance group. There’s a surprisingly large number of aspirant Utopias.

After Kosovo, it is obvious that economic viability has ceased to be something that can be used against those who seek independence.

This is what nosemonkey says about Euskal Herria:

The Basque Country - Somewhat well-known wannabe state straddling the Franco-Spanish border, based on one of the most tight-knit ethnic groups in Europe.

Navarre - a former kingdom and current autonomous region of Spain, Navarre is part of the wider Basque Country, but Basque nationalists have occasionally suggested limiting their ambitions for sovereignty to this smaller area.

Pretty accurate view of what's taking place in Euskal Herria.

But what I really wanted to highlight about this post is his mention of this particularly interesting international agreement:

Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

In February 1995, 22 member States of the Council of Europe, signed the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. The Framework was to become active in 1998. The broad aims of the Convention are to ensure that the signatory states respect for the rights of national minorities, undertaking to combat discrimination, promote equality, preserve and develop the culture and identity of national minorities, guarantee certain freedoms in relation to access to the media, minority languages and education and encourage the participation of national minorities in public life.

Article 25 of the Framework Convention binds the signatory states to submit a report to the Council of Europe containing "full information on the legislative and other measures taken to give effect to the principles set out in this framework Convention" (Council of Europe, 1994, 7).

The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities defines a national minority implicitly to include minorities possessing a territorial identity and a distinct cultural heritage.

However the convention has come under considerable criticism. First of all, not all member states of the European Council have signed and ratified it. France has done neither. Luxembourg and Belgium have signed and have yet to ratify. Also, the provisions offer little new on already existing international treaties. Furthermore, they are hedged around with many phrases including 'as far as possible'.

Overall however, Phillips (2002) has argued that because the FCNM is flexible it has allowed such a great number of states to ratify it so quickly. Therefore it should not be considered a failure, but a start. Many authors agree with this arguing that it needs to be implemented in 'good faith' with the political will to support commitment to minority rights.

And as he points out, France did not sign this agreement which directly affects three of Euskal Herria's provinces: Lapurdi, Behe-Nafarroa and Zuberoa.

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