The European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) conducts practice and policy-oriented research, provides information and documentation, and offers advisory services concerning minority-majority relations in Europe. It serves European governments and regional intergovernmental organizations as well as non-dominant groups throughout. The Centre co-operates with the academic community, the media and the general public through the timely provision of information and analysis.
The Centre organizes its activities around five thematic clusters. A Justice and Governance cluster is concerned with the evaluation and further development of legal standards that may assist in consolidating democratic governance on the basis of ethnic diversity and human rights. Other thematic clusters include Politics and Civil Society focusing on minority politics, especially the ability of minorities to participate both through public office and civil society functions. A Conflict and Security cluster focuses on constructive conflict-management and addresses conflicts with an ethno-political dimension in the wider Europe. A Culture and Diversity cluster addresses the cultural issues of minority existence, in particular language and education but is also concerned with the access of minorities to the media. A Citizenship and Ethics cluster focuses on both legal and socio-politico aspects of membership in mainstream society, including ethical issues of toleration, respect and contribution.
The Centre also maintains links to several regions of tension in Europe through its Regional Associates in Georgia and Kosovo and provides multi-level trainings in institution and capacity building. This focus is organized through a Technical Assistance and Training Unit in the head office and in corporation with numerous NGOs throughout Europe. In that regard, the Centre draws upon the successful history of managing minority issues in the German-Danish border area where it is based.
The ECMI was founded in 1996 by the governments of Denmark, Germany and Schleswig-Holstein. It is an independent and inter-disciplinary institution which draws upon an international core staff, supplemented by a number of non-resident Senior Research Associates from all over Europe and beyond. The Centre also maintains active relations with other academic institutions and NGOs involved in conflict resolution and inter-ethnic relations and engages in collaborative projects in these fields. While its core funding is provided by its founding governments, the Centre actively pursues project-based funding to support its activities. The ECMI is governed by an Executive Board of nine members from Denmark, Germany, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the European Union, and it is supported in its mission by an Advisory Council of eminent experts in the field of minority issues. The working language of ECMI is English.
The Centre occupies an historic building in the centre of Flensburg where it conducts workshops, seminars and conferences. Its specialized library provides the hub for the ECMI's research projects and Internet information programme. These activities are supported by a dedicated administrative staff and library team.