| PROJECT ON ETHNIC RELATIONS |
"Dedicated to reducing interethnic conflict in Central and Eastern Europe andthe former Soviet Union"
Winter/Spring 1998 Bulletin
SLOVAK DELEGATION RECEIVED BY ROMANIANS
As part of its ongoing effort to encourage more inclusive styles ofgovernance, PER sponsored a three-day visit to Romania, March 20-22, 1998,by senior political leaders from Slovakia to enable them to learn atfirsthand about the current Romanian experience with coalition politics andwith the inclusion of ethnic Hungarian representatives in the rulingcoalition. The Slovak delegation included such notables as Jan Carnogursky,former prime minister and chairman of the Christian Democratic Union, EduardKukan, former foreign minister and chairman of the democratic Union, andleaders of the three ethnic Hungarian parties of Slovakia. The ruling party,movement for a democratic Slovakia, HZDS, was also invited, but chose not toattend. Their discussions with high-level Romanian political leaders focusedon coalition politics and election campaign strategies.
On March 20, the Slovak delegation met with Ion Diaconescu, president of theRomanian Chamber of Deputies and president of the National Peasant ChristianDemocratic Party; Valeriu Stoica, minister of justice; Bela Marko, presidentof the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania, (UDMR) and other membersof that party's leadership; Petre Roman, president of the Senate andpresident of the Democratic Party; Gyorgy Tokay, minister in the Departmentfor the Protection of National Minorities; Laszlo Borbely, secretary ofstate at the Ministry of Public Works and Land Planning; and Zoe Petre,counselor to the president on domestic and foreign policy.
On March 21, PER hosted a roundtable discussion with high level Romanianpoliticians and the Slovak delegation. The meeting was organized by DanPavel and Elena Cruceru, PER's representatives in Bucharest, and SamuelAbraham and Peter Priadka, PER's representatives in Slovakia.
Political Leaders discuss interethnic Relations and Regional Security inCentral Europe
The second annual PER Regional Meeting on Majority-Minority Relations andRegional Security in Central Europe was held in Baden, Austria, December19-21, 1997. This forum brought together political leaders and authoritiesfrom Austria, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine, theUnited States, the European Union, and NATO, to review regional securitystrategies in the context of Euro-Atlantic integration trends, the effectsof political behavior in each country on the interparty politics of othercountries in the region, and the impact of interethnic issues on mutualrelations.
The participants in this meeting were Herbert Boesch, chairman, JointEuropean-Slovak Parliamentary Committee, European Parliament; Peter Burian,Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia; Jan Carnogursky, chairman,Christian Democratic Movement, and former prime minister of Slovakia; PalCsaky, vice-chairman, Hungarian Christian Democratic Movement, Slovakia;Andrew Dolan, director of the Strategic Analysis and Policy Department,NATO; Cristian Dumitrescu, vice-president of the Romanian Senate; MatyasEorsi, state secretary for policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hungary;Heinz Fischer, president, National Council (Parliament) of Austria;Constantin Dudu Ionescu, secretary of state and chief of defense policy andinternational relations at the Ministry of Defense and member of theCabinet, Romania; Ralph Johnson, U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia; Ferenc Kontra,head of the secretariat, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hungary; Eduard Kukan,chairman of the Democratic Union, Slovak Republic; Yevhen Marchuk, member ofthe Parliament and former prime minister of Ukraine; Vesna Pesic, president,Civic Alliance of Serbia; Jonathan Rickert, director of North CentralEuropean Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Vladimir Solonari, chairman,Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and National Minorities, Moldova;Csaba Tabajdi, state secretary, Office of the Prime Minister, Hungary; andGyorgy Tokay, minister, Department for National Minorities, and member ofthe Cabinet, Romania. The meeting was chaired by Allen Kassof, president ofPER, and Livia Plaks, PER executive director. Warren Haffar, PER programofficer, Samuel Abraham and Peter Priadka (both from PER's Slovakia office),and Ferenc Melykuti, PER representative in Budapest, also attended.
The discussions focussed on the aftermath of the first-round decisions onNATO enlargement, the political impact on domestic, bilateral, and regionalof these actions, prospects for EU membership, and the probable consequencesof upcoming elections in several of the countries represented at themeeting.
Kosovo Effort Continues
During the crisis in Kosovo, the Project on Ethnic Relations has kept intouch with the principals on both sides of the conflict. Between October 15and 25, 1997, PER President Allen Kassof, Executive Director Livia Plaks,and Program Officer Aleksey Grigor'ev traveled to Belgrade and Pristina in afollow-up to the roundtable between Serb and Kosovar Albanian politicalleaders held in New York in April 1997. Grigor'ev returned in February 1998for further consultations.
All of the principal Serb and Kosovar Albanian parties except the SocialistParty of Serbia (which at the last minute declared that it would not attend)were represented at the New York roundtable by their presidents orvice-presidents. Officials from the U.S. State Department and Americanacademic experts also attended. The roundtable produced a joint Serb-KosovarAlbanian statement setting forth terms of possible future negotiations,including respect for the Helsinki principles concerning borders andparticipation in continued dialogue with no preconditions or prejudgments ofpossible outcomes. (See the PER report, The New York Roundtable: TowardPeaceful accommodation in Kosovo.)
During the October visit, the PER team met in Belgrade with Ratomir Vico,minister in the government of Serbia responsible for the 3+3 talks oneducation between Belgrade and Pristina; Ivica Dacic and other seniorofficials of the executive board of the Socialist Party of Serbia; DusanMihajlovic and Tahir Hasanovic, respectively president and secretary generalof the New Democracy Party; and Vladimir Stambuk, chairman of the ForeignRelations Committee of the Yugoslav United Left. Kassof, Plaks, andGrigor'ev also met with leaders of the Serbian opposition: Zoran Djindjic,president of the Democratic Party; Vuk Draskovic, president of the SerbianRenewal Movement; Vesna Pesic, president of the Civic Alliance of Serbia;Dragoljub Micunovic, president of the Party of the Democratic Center; andDusan Janjic, vice-president of the Social Democracy Party. Richard Miles,U.S. charge d' affaires, hosted a dinner in honor of the visit.
In Pristina, the team consulted with Ibrahim Rugova, president of theDemocratic League of Kosova, and his vice-presidents, Fehmi Agani andHydajet Hyseni; Adem Demaci, president of the Parliamentary Party of Kosova;and Mahmut Bakalli, former senior political leader of Kosovo, and VetonSurroi, editor-in-chief, Koha Ditore. They also met Serbian officials inKosovo, leaders of the Serbian Resistance Movement, and officials of theSerbian Orthodox Church, and they visited the United States informationAgency office in Pristina.
The PER team then traveled to Skopje, Macedonia, to confer with PresidentKiro Gligorov concerning the impact of the situation in Kosovo oninterethnic relations in that country, especially the problem ofAlbanian-Macedonian tensions. separate meetings were held with thepresidents of the two principal ethnic Albanian parties, Abdurahman Halitiof the Party for Democratic prosperity, a partner in the coalitiongovernment of Macedonia, and Arben Xhaferi of the Democratic Party ofAlbanians. Afterward, Kassof traveled to The Hague at the request of Max vander Stoel, OSCE High commissioner on National minorities, to discusscooperation on Kosovo related issues.
During his follow-up visit in February, Grigor'ev met again with theprincipals on both sides, who reaffirmed their desire to reconvene theroundtable. PER is reviewing its programs in Kosovo in light of the latestdevelopments.
Euro-Atlantic Discussion Group on Interethnic Conflicts
In January 1998, PER convened a meeting of officials from NATO, the UnitedStates, the Western European Union, the European Parliament, and theEuropean Commission to launch a project on the capacity and preparedness ofthe Euro-Atlantic community to deal with current and potential interethnicconflicts. The meeting was hosted at NATO headquarters in Brussels by theNATO secretary general's special advisor for Central and East Europeanaffairs, Christopher Donnelly, and chaired by PER's executive director,Livia Plaks, and Andrew Dolan, director of NATO's Strategic Analysis andPolicy department. Disagreements and misunderstandings among European statesand organizations, and between Europe and the United States, have sometimesimpeded effective responses and threatened to undermine the largerEuro-Atlantic consensus. PER hopes that unofficial consultations amongsenior policy-makers and advisors will help to identify and clarifydifficulties and point the way to practical solutions. The group will workduring this year to produce a report and recommendations.
Meeting of Young Political Leaders from Southeastern Europe
PER convened a precedent-setting meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria, for youngpolitical leaders from Southeastern Europe to discuss their concerns overthe impact of interethnic tensions on regional political and economicdevelopment. It was the first time that leading politicians from theunder-forty age group from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia,Greece, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania,Serbia-Montenegro, and Turkey had met together. The meeting was the first inwhat is planned as an annual series intended to stimulate the growth ofregional cooperation and the development of new ways of avoiding ethnicconflicts. Observers attended from the U.S. Department of State, NATO, theEuropean Union, and the Council of Europe, whose Confidence-BuildingMeasures Programme provided partial funding for this initiative. U.S.Ambassador to Bulgaria, Avis Bohlen, made informal remarks to the confereesconcerning U.S. perceptions of and policies toward Southeastern Europe. TheBulgarian government assisted with arrangements for the meeting, andvice-president of Bulgaria Todor Kavaldzhiev received the group for anoff-the-record discussion.
Young leaders in the Balkan countries have had few opportunities to becomeacquainted with one another and to explore their problems, hopes, and planswith their counterparts in other countries of the region. West European andAmerican observers who attended the meeting commented on a welcome change inpolitical vocabulary among the new generation of young leaders, which theybelieve may foreshadow a broader positive change for the region.
Nevertheless, the participants acknowledged that many serious and unresolvedconflicts continue to disrupt relations among the states of the region andbetween the region and Euro-Atlantic structures. They agreed that meetingsof this kind should be held on a regular basis, and they suggested that theagenda of the next meeting should focus on a limited number of specificissues. The meeting was arranged by PER's representative in Bulgaria, IvanIlchev, and with the assistance of the Bulgarian government.
Party Leaders Debate Hungarian Foreign Policy
The future orientation of Hungarian foreign policy was the subject of aroundtable organized by PER and the Central European Institute of the TelekiFoundation in Budapest, Hungary, on February 19, 1998. Leaders of the sixparliamentary parties, as well as experts on foreign policy, discussed theso-called "three pillars" of Hungarian foreign policy: Euro-Atlanticintegration, bilateral relations with neighboring countries, and thesituation of Hungarian minorities in neighboring countries. Interpartydifferences over the first two of these seemed more symbolic than real, butdifferences between the views of the present governing coalition andopposition parties regarding policies toward Hungarian minority communitiesliving in neighboring countries were substantial. Participants alsodiscussed the risks and consequences of differentiated NATO and EUenlargement in the region.
The participants from Hungary were Gyorgy Csoti, MP, Hungarian democraticForum; Zoltan Horvath, MP, Hungarian Socialist Party; Geza Jeszenszky, MP,Hungarian Democratic People's Party and former foreign minister; ZsoltLanyi, MP, vice-president of the Hungarian smallholders' Party; ZsoltNemeth, MP, vice-president of the Fidesz-Hungarian Civic Party; and ErikaTorzsok, Union of Free Democrats and president of the government Office forHungarians Abroad. The roundtable was organized by Ferenc Melykuti,PER'srepresentative in Budapest.
Local Administration and Legislation in Romania
PER organized a roundtable discussion entitled Ethnic minorities: Asset orBurden? Local Authorities Facing minority Representatives, in Tirgu Mures,Romania, on March 17, 1998. The forum brought together leaders of localcivic organizations, national and local politicians, legal experts, andmembers of the press to examine legislation concerning minority rights andits impact on local communities in Romania. The meeting provided anopportunity for participants to discuss the forces and challenges that shapeminority legislation in Romania.
The discussion began with an overview of the key issues facing ethniccommunities and of jurisdiction in cases of minority-rights legislation.Case studies of such legislation in Romania were provided by Gyorgy Frunda,member of the Romanian Senate, and in Finland by Mikko Heikinheimo, theFinnish ambassador to Romania. Minority-rights legislation in Finland isconsidered by many to be highly innovative in its approach. Presentationswere also given by local authorities, among them Arpad Burkhard, subprefectof Tirgu Mures county, and Imre Fodor, mayor of Tirgu Mures, and byrepresentatives of minority groups and of the mass media. Also discussedwere the dynamics of public opinion and how they influence attitudes towardminority-rights legislation in Romania. The meeting was organized by MariaKoreck, PER's representative in Tirgu Mures.
Roundtable on Educational Reform and Language Instruction
In cooperation with the department for National minorities of the Romaniangovernment, PER's office in Tirgu Mures organized a seminar entitledEuropean integration: Educational Reform in Romania and Language Instructionin the Mother Tongue in Cluj, November 21-22, 1997. In Romania, there is acontinuing national dispute over the question of the restoration of aseparate Hungarian university and over the language in which members ofethnic minorities are to receive instruction in primary and secondaryschools. The meeting was attended by leading political figures and academicsspecializing in educational policy. Romanian Minister for NationalMinorities, Gyorgy Tokay, participated in the seminar, which helped toclarify areas of common interest where consensus among parties might bepossible. The seminar was chaired by, among others, Gabriel Andreescu,president of the Romanian Helsinki Committee.
Earlier, in October 1997, PER's executive director, Livia Plaks, consulted inBucharest with members of the Romanian Cabinet and of the Office of thePresidency about these issues, which have created strains in the governingcoalition.
Roma and the Elections: Experience and Prospects
As the first in a series of regional meetings, PER convened an internationalroundtable in Budapest, Hungary, March 24-25, 1998, to examine why the Romaare underrepresented in political and administrative systems of Central andEastern European countries on the national and local levels. Participantsanalyzed representation in the Hungarian parliament and in local andminority self-governments. Romani experts and representatives of Hungarianparliamentary parties discussed ways to improve the representation of theRomani community in Hungary.
The meeting was particularly significant in that it brought togetherdisparate groups that rarely confer with one another: the Hungarian NationalGypsy Self-Government, Hungarian Romani civic organizations, and severalpolitical parties. Participants included Florian Farkas, president, NationalGypsy Self-Government; Gabriella Farkas, Hungarian Democratic Peoples Party;Gabor Gellert Kiss, MP, Hungarian Socialist Party; Nicolae Gheorghe, PERRomani Advisory Council and the Roma NGO, Rromani Criss, Romania; OttoHeinek, vice-president, Office of National and Ethnic Minorities of theGovernment of Hungary; Aladar Horvath, president, Foundation for RomaniCivic Rights; Andras Klein, MP, Fidesz Hungarian Civic Party; NikolaiKirilov, PERRAC and The Roma Foundation, Bulgaria; Janos Kozak,vice-president, National Gypsy Self-Government; Istvan Meszaros, MP,Alliance of Free Democrats; Andrzej Mirga, chairman, PERRAC, Poland; KlaraOrgovanova, PERRAC and Open Society Fund?Slovakia; Bela Osztojkan, Phralipe;and Jeno Zsigo, president, Roma Parliament. The meeting was organized byFerenc Melykuti, PER's representative in Budapest.
OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting
At the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation meeting in Warsaw, November12-28, 1997, PER was represented by executive director Livia Plaks and byAndrzej Mirga, Nicolae Gheorghe, and Ian Hancock, members of PERRAC. Thepolicy paper by Mirga and Gheorghe, The Roma in the Twenty-First Century: APolicy Paper, published by PER in May 1997, was the basis for a discussionon implementing minority rights of Roma and Sinti. Mirga and Gheorghe spokeabout the process of constructing a Romani identity, the concept of theRomani nation, Romani representation and leadership, different approaches toRomani-related issues within the Romani community, and the currentstructures within which Romani groups interact with other institutions.Discussion about how to deal with the plurality of Romani representation,how to combat anti-Romani racism and xenophobia, and the problem of dealingwith the increasing number of Romani refugees, migrants, and asylum-seekers,dominated this session. Another session took up the negative image of theRoma in the mass media, the need for human rights education and affirmativeaction, and social welfare policies.
Council of Europe's Specialist Group on Roma/Gypsies
The policy paper by Mirga and Gheorghe was also the focus of an extensivediscussion at a meeting of the Council of Europe's Specialist Group onRoma/Gypsies in Strasbourg, March 5-6, 1998. Participants at the meetingagreed that the paper represented a major event in the Romani movement andthat it pointed the way toward the development of more pluralisticsocieties. A decision was taken to extend the group's work for three moreyears, until the end of the year 2000.
Depiction of the Roma in The Mass Media
PER has been engaged in a continuing effort to identify practical ways toovercome the negative portrayal of Roma in the mass media. This was the aimof a workshop held in Sinaia, Romania, June 27-28, 1997. Organized under thedirection of Dan Pavel and Elena Cruceru ofPER's Bucharest office, withpartial funding from the Confidence Building Measures programme of theCouncil of Europe, and in cooperation with the Department for the Protectionof National and Ethnic Minorities of the Romanian government and RomaniCriss, the workshop brought media professionals together with Romanianjournalists and Rromani activists to consider the problems of coveringethnic issues. The meeting assessed the role of the mass media in violenceand discrimination against the Roma and the need for professional standards.
The Sinaia workshop led to the formation of a Contact Point between theRomani community and the media, to provide the media with information fromand about the community and to organize monthly dialogues between the twoparties. PER's Bucharest office has followed up with monthly workshops forjournalists who are developing standards to avoid ethnic stereotyping in themedia.
Draft Legislation on the Use of Minority Languages
PER staff met in September 1997 with leaders of the governing coalition andopposition parties of Slovakia, including the three ethnic Hungarianparties, concerning legislation on the use of minority languages in officialsettings. An interparty committee of members of the Slovak parliament hasbeen working, with the assistance of Samuel Abraham and Peter Priadka ofPER's Bratislava office, to prepare a draft bill. The committee completedits work in February 1998, and the draft was circulated among politicalleaders, who added their comments. The EU and the OSCE have called upon theSlovak government to enact such legislation, and the government pledgedsupport for it when its representatives signed an interparty agreement at ameeting sponsored by PER in Le Mont Pelerin, Switzerland, in September 1996.Since then, however, the government has taken the position that no newlegislation is needed, while opposition parties and internationalorganizations have continued to support the idea. The PER project aims atproviding a model for such legislation if and when it is enacted.
FORUM FOR ETHNIC RELATIONS MEETS, REORGANIZES
PER sponsored the first meeting of the former Yugoslav Forum for EthnicRelations since the collapse of the former Yugoslavia. The meeting was heldFebruary 20-22, 1998, in Pecs, Hungary, and was organized by the forum'scoordinator, Dusan Janjic.
The Forum for Ethnic Relations was originally a group of some 300distinguished scholars on ethnic relations and minorities from all republicsof the former Yugoslavia who are concerned with the development of democracyand human rights, protection of minorities, improvement of interethnicdialogue, international cooperation, and Euro-Atlantic integration of theBalkans. Since 1991, a number of forum members have become government orparty leaders in their respective new countries.
At the meeting, it was decided to replace the Forum for Ethnic Relationswith an International Network for Ethnic Relations in Southeastern Europe.The network will include scholars and practitioners from Albania, Bulgaria,Greece, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Russia, the United States, and thecountries of the former Yugoslavia. Mirce Tomovski, a leading Macedonianjournalist specializing in interethnic relations, was elected coordinator ofthe network, and its headquarters will be in Skopje. Meanwhile, a Center forEthnic Relations and Minority Protection was established; it will be locatedin Belgrade, and Dusan Janjic was named its director.
Participants at this meeting emphasized that the five new states in theterritory of the former Yugoslavia have different problems and differingforeign-policy objectives. This situation requires new forms of cooperationand organization.
The collapse of the Yugoslav state has also produced a number of new issuesfor the region, including the status of minority languages and the problemsof new minorities, such as Croats in Serbia and Slovenia, Serbs inMacedonia, etc. Forum participants said that special attention needs to bepaid to the process of regional integration and the creation of a commonEuropean identity among the peoples of the Balkans. The most urgentproblems, however, are those of traditional minorities, such as Albanians inSerbia and Macedonia, Serbs in Croatia, and Hungarians in the republics ofthe former Yugoslavia.PER Program Officer Aleksey Grigor'ev participated in the discussions.
Alexei Salmin Joins PER Council for Ethnic Accord
PER is pleased to announce that Alexei M. Salmin has joined PER's Councilfor Ethnic Accord. Dr. Salmin is president of the Russian Public PolicyCenter in Moscow and a member of the Presidential Advisory Council of theRussian Federation.
Born in 1951 in Kazan, Russia, Salmin graduated in 1973 from the MoscowInstitute of International Relations. He worked at the Institute ofComparative Political Studies of the Soviet Academy of Sciences and was asenior executive at the Gorbachev Foundation. Dr. Salmin is the author ofseveral books and over 150 articles on political systems, politicalcultures, and interethnic relations. His latest monograph, Modern democracy,was published in Moscow last year.
In 1996, the Russian Public Policy Center, led by Salmin, was co-organizerwith PER of a meeting in Moscow on the subject, Russia and Eastern andCentral Europe: Old Divisions and New Bridges.
Warren Haffar has joined the staff at PER's Princeton headquarters as aprogram officer. Haffar holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University ofPennsylvania in conflict analysis and peace science. His research at theUniversity of Pennsylvania concerned the evolution of international andregional security strategies and the dynamics of multinational allianceformation during periods of international conflict. He comes to PER from CDRAssociates.
Council FOR Ethnic ACCORD and PER Staff meet
PER's U.S. and overseas staff met with members of the PER Council for EthnicAccord in Antalya, Turkey, September 25-27, 1997, to review the status ofinterethnic relations in the new European democracies and to chart PER'scourse for 1998.
Grant renewed by Starr Foundation
The Starr Foundation has renewed and increased its support for the Projecton Ethnic Relations in 1998-1999. The grant makes it possible for PER tocontinue its work with political and ethnic leaderships in Central andEastern Europe and the Balkans to prevent interethnic conflicts.n
April 1997-April 1998 publications
Copies of PER publications are available on the Project on Ethnic Relations Internet Site
If you would like to receive a print copy, please contact our Princetonoffice. All PER reports are free of charge.
The Project on Ethnic Relations (PER) was founded in 1991 in anticipation ofthe serious interethnic conflicts that were to erupt following the collapseof communism in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. PERconducts programs of intervention and dialogue and has served as a neutralmediator in several major disputes in the region. PER also conducts programsof training, education, and research at international, national, andcommunity levels.
PER is supported by the Carnegie corporation of New York, with additionalfunding from the Starr Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation,The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Philip D. Reed Foundation, and the Council ofEurope.
Allen H. Kassof, President
Livia B. Plaks, Executive Director
Robert A Feldmesser, Senior Editor
Warren R. Haffar, Bulletin Editor
Council for Ethnic Accord
Harry Barnes, The Carter Center of Emory University, USA
Martin Butora, Institute for Public Affairs; Milan Simecka Foundation,Slovakia
Bronislaw Geremek, (emeritus) Minister of Foreign Affairs, Poland
Nicolae Gheorghe, Rromani CRISS and the Romanian Academy, Romania
Dinu Giurescu, Bucharest University, Romania
Donald Horowitz, Duke University School of Law, USA
Allen H. Kassof, Project on Ethnic Relations, USA
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, United States Senate, USA
William Pfaff, author and journalist, USA
Livia B. Plaks, Project on Ethnic Relations, USA
Attila Pok, Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Europa Institute, Hungary
John J. Roberts, American International Group, USA
Peter Sager, former Vice-President, Parliamentary Assembly of Europe, andformer member, Swiss Parliament, Switzerland
Alexei M. Salmin, Presidential Advisory Council of the Russian Federationand Russian, Public Policy Center, Russia
John D. Scanlan, former U.S. Ambassador to Yugoslavia, USA
Vojislav Stanovcic, Belgrade University, Yugoslavia
Galina V. Starovoitova, State Duma, Russia
Valery Tishkov, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia
Cyrus Vance, former U.S. Secretary of State, USA
Elie Wiesel, Boston University, USA