One of the most contentious features of post-communist politics in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) has been the self-assumed responsibility of many states vis-à-vis their co-ethnics abroad. Poland’s legislation on kin-minorities is amongst the most recent: the Polish Charter (Ustawą z dnia 7 września 2007 r. o Karcie Polaka) was implemented in 2007, while an amended version came into force on 2 September 2016 and 1 January 2017.
Kin-states’ trans-sovereign engagement has challenged home-states’ primary duty in relation to the accommodation of their minority ethnocultural groups, and in many cases raised concerns over their territorial integrity and security. Its societal impact can be positive, ensuring the cultural preservation and protection of minority rights of co-ethnic abroad as, for example, in the cases of the Danish minority in Germany (EURAC, 2007) or the German minorities in CEE (Cordell and Wolff, 2007: 289-315). Many states have adopted policies which actively protect and support the cultural and linguistic reproduction of their kin-minority groups outside their borders, and as such have assumed a duty of identity recognition (Bloed and van Dijk, 1999; Krisza, 2000: 247-262; European Commission for Democracy through Law, 2002; Halász, Majtényi and Vizi, 2004: 328-349; de Varennes 2004: 411-429; Felföldi, 2004: 430-460; Halász, 2006: 255-279; Singh, 2006: 303-318; Cordell and Wolff, 2007: 289-315; Smith, 2013: 27-55; Udrea, 2014: 324-46). In recent years, an increasing number of states have eased the access of co-ethnics abroad to partial or full citizenship (Bauböck, 2010: 1-4; Waterbury, 2014: 36-49; Agarin and Karolewski, 2015). Yet, a kin-state’s involvement may also be destabilising, as shown by the security fears raised in connection with the passportisation of citizenship by countries like Russia and Hungary or by Russia’s intervention in Georgia in 2008 (Shevel, 2015: 5-16), or disintegrative, as in the case of Russia’s occupation of Crimea in 2014 (Shevel, 2015: 5-16). The legislation on kin-minorities in Europe is constantly changing: kin-state polices are being modified and/or states adopt new policies which alter the nature and expand or shrink the scope of a kin-state’s intervention.
The Polish Charter has sparked great contentions in/with the neighbouring states ever since its adoption in 2007 (Głowacka-Grajper 2013). Moreover, the ruling party, Law and Justice (PiS), aims to turn the recently amended version into the cornerstone of its governing programme in a similar manner to which the Act LXII of 2001 on Hungarians Living in the Neighbouring Countries in Hungary, strengthened by Act XLIV on Hungarian Nationality in 2010, has become that of the Hungarian Civic Alliance (Fidesz) in Hungary. The political importance conferred upon the amended Charter in Poland makes it all the more important to submit the legislation to a comprehensive and comparative examination.
This conference will address the following THEMES:
• The Polish Charter within the European legislation on kin-minorities
• Trans-sovereign identity politics: the evolution and multiplication of the relations between Poland and its co-ethnics abroad
• The forms, reach and institutionalisation of Poland’s kin-state support
• The impact of the Polish Charter on the accommodation of the Polish minorities in their home-states
• (Kin-) minority agency and the role of the kin-state
• The effect of the Polish Charter upon Poland’s bilateral relations
– Professor Karl CORDELL (University of Plymouth)
– Professor Jan ZIELONKA (University of Oxford)
– Mr Bernard GAIDA (Association of German Socio-Cultural Societies in Poland)
The submission deadline for the panel ‘Poland’s kin-state policies and the Poles from the East’ is now CLOSED.
This conference is organised by the School of Social and Political Sciences (University of Glasgow) and the Institute of Sociology (Warsaw University) under the project ‘Poland’s Kin-state Policies: Opportunities and Challenges’, and is funded by the Noble Foundation Programme on Modern Poland and the Institute of Sociology (Warsaw University).
This conference is under the honorary patronage of the Rector of the University of Warsaw.
A Provisional Conference Programme  is available here.