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The Aspect of Culture in the Social Inclusion Of Ethnic Minorities: Assessing the Cultural Policies of Six Member States of the European Union

Project Director: Dr. Tove H. Malloy, Head, EU Programme, ECMI
Project Partners: Estonia (Prof. Aksel Kirch, Institute for European Studies, Audentes University, Tallinn ), Latvia (Prof. Brigita Zepa, Baltic Institute of Social Sciences, Riga), Czech Republic (Milada Horakova, Research Institute of Labour and Social Affairs, Prague), Slovak Republic (Dr. Michal Vašečka, Center for Ethnicity and Culture, Bratislava), Slovenia (Dr. Mitja Žagar, Dr. Miran Komac, Dr. Mojca Medvešek, Dr. Romana Bešter, Institute for Ethnic Studies, Ljubljana), Sweden (Prof. Antoinette Hetzler, Department of Sociology, Lund University, Lund)
Obdobje trajanja projekta:          2005–2006
Št. pogodbe VS/2005/0686

The Project

This project proposes to evaluate the cultural policies introduced in National Action Plans (NAPs) on Social Inclusion under the European Union’s Open Method of Co-ordination (OMC) by six member states (Estonia, Latvia, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Sweden) in terms of their impact on promoting social inclusion of ethnic minorities, including Roma/Sinti groups. The specific added value of this evaluation will be the piloting of a set of Common Inter-Cultural Indicators (CICIs) feasible for cost-effectiveness analyses and benchmarking within the EU. 

Although there is widespread agreement that “culture counts,” there seems less understanding of what it entails to address cultural aspects of social exclusion. However, the evaluation of the success rate of cultural policies raises a number of issues in terms of the definition of culture. Do we operate with thin or thick definitions? Do we operate with a bracketed definition, or must we take a holistic approach? What areas of cultural life contribute to the promotion of social inclusion, and which risk exclusion? How do we link culture to socio-economic exclusion? Do we find the answers in the Gross Domestic Products, or must we search for different sources? Not only does the complex reality of culture make it difficult to define measuring tools, it has also been almost impossible to map culture with a view to measuring and benchmarking.

Defining a common framework of comparable cultural indicators is fraught with problems and there is a general scepticism regarding the link between culture and social inclusion. The complex reality of culture renders the goal of seeking comparable indicators virtually unattainable. However, even though precise rankings between member states are not possible, broad comparisons are, and changes over time can be discerned. There is therefore a dire need to seek to develop a good working framework of cultural indicators that address the social exclusion of members of ethnic minorities within the EU.

Aims and Objectives

The purpose of this project is to evaluate the effectiveness of cultural policies of the NAPs of six member states aimed at the social inclusion of ethnic minorities through the piloting of a framework of CICIs. With the goal to enhance cultural policies in NAPs on Social Inclusion under the EU’s OMC process, a number of specific objectives will aide in supporting this aim:  

  • Improved NAPs through increased use of inter-cultural indicators in policies on ethnic minorities, including Roma/Sinti groups
  • Improved inter-cultural indicators through the piloting of a feasible framework of CICIs
  • Improved capacity of member states’ agencies to define and use inter-cultural indicators and integrate cross-sectoral co-operation
  • Heightened awareness of previous applied research on the importance of cultural policies on social inclusion 
  • Improved knowledge and mutual learning of deficiencies in NAPs in terms of inter-cultural indicators
  • Increased informing of other social inclusion policies
  • Enhanced capacity of the OMC to address inter-cultural challenges in the area of ethnic minorities 


This project will contribute to the further development of NAPs in the specific area of cultural policies aimed at promoting the social inclusion of ethnic minorities by working with stakeholders in the relevant ministries and government departments as well as civil society throughout the process of the evaluation. Specific outputs will include:

  • Separate evaluation studies of six NAPs on Social Inclusion that include cultural policies and represent member states of comparable size,
  • Comparative analysis of impact of cultural policies in NAPs on Social Inclusion
  • Comparative analysis of cost-effectiveness of cultural policies
  • Proposal for OMC framework of CICIs based on comparable member states and drawing on a regional outlook 

 Methodology and Activities

Phase One of the project consists of field research in each of the selected member states involving sociological and cultural anthropological studies as well as communication studies that survey local actions and sources with a view to evaluate the extent of inter-cultural dialogue, exchange and understanding as well as the level of tolerance. Research tools will include stakeholder focus groups, questionnaires, interviews and seminars.

Phase Two comprises a major comparative study of the results found and includes economic cost-effectiveness and benchmarking analyses.

Workshop meetings for the consortium of research teams will be the main transversal activities (February, July and October). A final dissemination conference will introduce the results to the general EU public in Flensburg (October).

Project Partners

Estonia Prof. Aksel Kirch Institute for European Studies,Audentes University, Tallinn
Latvia Prof. Brigita Zep Baltic Institute of Social Sciences, Riga
Czech Republic Milada Horakova Research Institute of Labour and Social Affairs, Prague
Slovak Republic Dr. Michal Vašečka Center for Ethnicity and Culture, Bratislava
Slovenia Prof. Mitja Žagar Institute for Ethnic Studies, Ljubljana
Sweden Prof. Antoinette Hetzler Department of Sociology, Lund University, Lund

Final report - Slovenija


Prof. Francois Grin, Université de Genève & Service de la recherche en éducationSwitzerland)
Mr. Michele Gazzola, Ecole de traduction et d'interprétation, Université de Genève
Dr. Deborah Mabbett, Birkbeck College, University of London
Dr. Andreas Hieronymus, Institute for Migration and Racism Research, Hamburg

Contact Details

The Evaluation project on the Impact of Inclusion Policies under the Open Method of Co-ordination is co-ordinated by the MEU Programme at the European Centre for Minority Issues:

OMC Evaluation

MEU Programme
European Centre for Minority Issues
Schiffbruecke 12
D-24939 Flensburg

Phone: +49 461 19190
Fax: +49 461 1919919
Project Director:

Dr. Tove H. Malloy
Senior Research Associate,
Head, EU Programme,

Project Manager:
Ms. Ulrike Schmidt
Research Associate,

Scientific Consultant:

Dr. Eben Friedman,
Regional Representative for Romani Integration
ECMI Macedonia

Public Information Officer:

William McKinney

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