The Czech Republic embodies a remarkable exception to the set of cases dealt with in this volume. As a nationally and ethnically rather homogenous country it does not appear to be an appropriate object of research on minority claims. The path towards the present situation, however, shows a country struggling with the multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic and multi-religious composition of its population. The chapter reads the Czech history of the second half of the twentieth century as a story of the de-complexification of the population. Furthermore, by analysing actual claims of politically relevant minority issues, such as the situation of the Czech Roma population, the chapter reveals a path dependency on experiences with previous violent unification and homogenisation of the Czech Lands and points to lessons for the European Union.
The chapter takes a comparative perspective on citizenship in the unitary states Czechia, Estonia and Turkey. It takes a look at minority issues in societies that are not ethnically homogeneous, have or have had politically relevant ethnic or national minorities, and did not opt for a multilevel political system with institutions of minority representation. The role of history is taken into consideration to explain the obstacles that have prevented a multilevel polity from emerging. The specific claims of the recent minorities are compared. The potential barriers for execution of fully-fledged civic participation is discussed, not only in order to understand common features and differences within the three cases, but especially for the sake of drawing relevant lessons for the EU.
Vít Hloušek and Viktor Koska
Chapter 7 analyses the role of shifting borders on communities and identities in Europe and the quest for republican EU citizenship and polity. In order to encapsulate the various roles as well as possible struggles and challenges that stem from the existence of competing identities during the new nation-state formations and/or changes to existing polity boundaries, the analysis reaches out for a more comprehensive study of citizenship regimes. This approach makes it possible to focus on various non-formal and formal areas of social life within which the issues of identity and inclusion/exclusion from a polity are prominent. Considering the building of European identity, Hlou_ek and Koska argue that it is most important to develop EU standards of legal protection concerning human rights’ issues which are not perceived as concurring with domestic standards and will not create conflict between popular perceptions regarding national state and EU roles.