Minorities and Democracy in Northern Europe

On Ralf Dahrendorf Roundtable ”Minorities and Democracy in Northern Europe” May 14th, 2018 in Helsinki:

Around Northern Europe and the Baltic Area lives a number of minority groups facing similar issues as minorities all over Europe. Even though local contexts and realities differ, some main issues are transferable and relatable between many minority-majority settings within the EU. Therefore Think Tank Magma applied for a Ralf Dahrendorf Roundtable to be organised around the theme of “Minorities and Democracy in Northern Europe”. The application was approved on March 21st and the event was organised on Monday, May 14th, 2018 in Helsinki, Finland at 1–4 pm.

Target audience for the event included politicians, representatives of various organisations as well as the general public. Around 60 people registered for the event. However, possibly due to exceptionally summary weather in Helsinki, only 38 attended. In addition, there was a live streaming of the event over Facebook. The streaming was followed by around 500 people. The event was hosted by the Nordic Council of Ministers, as they provided the event with the venue free of charge and provided the seminar with refreshments. Therefore, the Director of Nordic Culture Point Ola Kellgren welcomed the seminar to the venue. After this, Director of Magma Think Tank Nils Erik Forsgård gave an opening address where he focused on the work and thoughts of Ralf Dahrendorf and what his ideas can teach us today. Ms Angelika Mlinar (NEOS) from the European Parliament gave the audience insights into the work of the European Parliament, stressing the need for external pressure and lobbying by minority groups themselves. After this, three different case studies were discussed. Ms Ewa Chylinski from the European Centre for Minority Issues presented some facts concerning the Russian and Russian speaking population in the Baltic states; Mr Thomasz Wicherkiewicz from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan presented the realities of minority groups in Poland, whereas Mikkel Näkkäläjärvi, member of the Rovaniemi City Council, spoke about the Sámi people in Finland.

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