Minority rights, multiculturalism and EU enlargement: the case of Estonia

Smith, D.J. (2003) Minority rights, multiculturalism and EU enlargement: the case of Estonia. Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe, 4(1), pp. 1-39.

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


This article examines the process of EU enlargement and its impact upon ethnopolitics in contemporary Estonia. After discussing the construction of the post-communist state order within the context of emerging CSCE and CoE norms on minority rights, the author looks at how Estonia was able to reconcile its so-called ‘ethnic democracy’ with the EU Copenhagen criteria requiring the ‘respect for and protection of minorities’. The author draws attention to the subsequent shift away from ‘nationalizing statehood’ in Estonia towards a new strategy of ‘multicultural integration’ (where ‘multicultural democracy’ is portrayed as the ideal end-point of the integrative processes currently underway). In conclusion, the author discusses some of the ambiguities surrounding the concept of ‘multicultural integration’. Whilst deemed consistent with EU norms, it is argued that the meaning of this term remains vague and contested within an Estonian context. As a consequence, its relationship to existing Western models – and its applicability to post-Soviet Estonia – is still not entirely clear.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Smith, Professor David
Authors: Smith, D.J.
Subjects:D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
J Political Science > JZ International relations
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Central and East European Studies
Journal Name:Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record