Lecture by prof. Ljubica Djordjevic, PhD, European Centre for Minority Issues, Flensburg

Measuring the effects of the work of minority self-governments (national councils of national minorities) in the states formed on the territory of Yugoslavia



In the four countries of former Yugoslavia, special bodies have been established, through which national minorities can make decisions or participate in the decision-making on issues pertinent to minority national identity: Councils of minority peoples and other minority national communities in Montenegro, Councils or representatives of national minorities in Croatia, Self-governing national communities in Slovenia, and National councils of national minorities in Serbia. These models are often marked as examples of minority cultural autonomy or personal self-governance, although they manifest territorial elements too, plus the level of autonomy and the quality of self-governing competences are questionable. In general, functioning of these bodies is subjected to criticism, mainly from the perspective of their impact on the quality of minority protection. However, assessments of the work and functioning of these bodies often rest on “impressions” or on partial research focused only on specific segments. What is missing is continuous systemic monitoring of these bodies, their activities and effects.

This presentation is an invitation to consider and develop adequate methodology of monitoring/assessing of the mentioned bodies. The focus is put on five clusters of indicators for monitoring. The central cluster relates to competences and how they are performed. The other four clusters are important because they influence the framework for adequate performance. These four clusters are built around: institutional capacity (internal organization and mode of functioning), funding (incomes and expenditures, their scope, structure and stability), cooperation and networks (with public authorities, within the minority community, with actors beyond the ethnic lines, with the kin-state, and with international actors), and transparency and accountability (democratic, financial, and legal control). The endeavor of continuous monitoring raises some other important questions, such as goals, actors, and risks, which have been addressed in the presentation too.