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Laws and Policies to Support Main National Cultural Minority Groups

Information and data presented in this table is derived from individual Compendium country profiles, sub-chapter 4.2.4 "Cultural diversity and inclusion policies". For more information, please consult the individual country profiles.



Total Population

% of all National Minorities

Main National Minority Groups

Main Law Providing Civic and Cultural Rights to National Minorities

Main Cultural Policy Document Addressing National Minority Groups


3 581 655


Greeks, Mace-donians, Vlachs and Roma. Efforts being made to add Roma to this list.

Article 20, Albanian Constitution (1998)

There is no main cultural policy document addressing national minority groups.


3 213 011


Yazidis, Russians, Assyrians, Ukrainians, Greeks, Kurds

Law on Fundamentals of Cultural Legislation (2002)

There is no main cultural policy document addressing national minority groups.

(2001 Census;
*Test Census 2006; next Census 2011)

8 100 000

*8 281 295

less than 1%

Slovenes, Croats, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Roma

Ethnic Groups Act (1976)

Article 8, para. 2 Austrian Constitution (2000)

The promotion of (ethnic) cultural diversity is one of the new government's proposals. According to the second Austrian report on migration and integration (2007), there are too few integration measures and the existing ones are not sufficiently coordinated.


8 629 900


Lezghins, Russians, Armenians, Talishians, Avars, Akhiska Turks, Tatars, Ukranians, Tsakhurians, Georgians, Kurds, Tats, Jews, Udins, and others

Constitution of Azerbaijan (1995)

Article 8, Law on Culture (1998)

Ministry of Culture and Tourism to establish a Coordinating Council on Cultural Diversity to focus on programmes to preserve and develop existing traditions of ethnic cultural communities.


10 379 067


There are no officially recognised minority groups in Belgium.

1998 Flemish Parliament Decree to establish a policy on ethnic cultural minorities (=allochthonous people)

2006 Flemish Community Action Plan on Cultural Diversity covering the sectors of youth, culture and sports. Focus on culture includes not only support for creative works of ethnic cultural minorities but also for the production process (organisational structures, audiences, etc.)

(2001 Census)

7 929 000



Turkish, Roma
(9.4% Turkish; and 4.7% Roma, the remaining made up of Armenians, Greeks, Russians etc.)

Bulgarian Constitution

There is no main cultural policy document addressing national minority groups. The Ministry of Culture does provide support to projects of minority groups. It has also set up a Public Council on Cultural Diversity.


33 000 000

Aboriginals 3.2%

Official Language minorities

Visible minorities

(73% live in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver)


Official Language Minorities: Anglophones in Quebec and Francophones outside of Quebec.

Visible minorities: Individuals who are non-white in color and non-Aboriginal or non-Caucasian by race (Employment Equity Act) The three largest visible minority groups are: Chinese, South Asian and Black. 

Aboriginals: Section 35, Constitution Act (1982)

Official Language minorities: Official Languages Act

Visible minorities: Canadian Multiculturalism Act,

Employment Equity Act, Canadian Human Rights Act, Section 27 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Canada's Aboriginal Action Plan (1998)

Government of Canada's Approach to Implementation of the Inherent Right and the Negotiation of Aboriginal Self-Government (1995)

Comprehensive Claims Policy (1986)

Official Languages Action Plan 2002-05

Canadian Diversity: Respecting our Differences (2004)

Official languages Act - Part VII (Advancement of French and English) - Guide for Federal Institutions (2007)

(2001 Census)

4 430 000


Austrians, Albanians, Bosniacs, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Italians, Jews, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Roma, Ruthenians, Serbs, Slovaks, Slovenians and Ukrainians.

Constitution (1990, rev. 2001); Constitutional Law on the Rights of National Minorities (2002);

The Law on the use of language and script of national minorities in the Republic of Croatia (2000)

There is no main cultural policy document addressing national minority groups. The Ministry of Culture does provide support to projects of minority groups in the form of grants to preserve traditional cultural expressions. Government Council on National Minorities also provides support to their cultural activities.


5 404 000



Integration Act (1999)

The Danish Arts Agency is responsibile for the implementation of cultural policy and cultural projects for cultural minorities, groups and communities.


1 345 000


Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusian, Finns, Swedes, Jews, Germans, Tatars, Roma

Law on the Cultural Autonomy of National Minorities (1993)

Listed as a policy priority in the government's current list of cultural policy priorities. New action plan has been developed on Integration in Estonian Society 2008-2013.


5 200 000


Swedish-speaking Finns, Sami, Roma

Non-Discrimin-ation Act, 2004 (following EU Directive);

Language Law (2004); Sami Language Law (2003).

Mainstreaming approach, where support activities are part of government programme. National minorities have their own associations/institutions and are funded within the framework of part of the overall cultural funding system. Special funding programme for immigrant groups.


60 380 000


In France there are no officially recognised minority groups.



(2002 Official Statistics)

4 371 535


Abkhazians, Ossetians, Armenians, Russians, Azerbaijanis, Greeks, Jews, Ukrainians, Kurds

Article 38 Constitution of Georgia (1995)

The Ministry of Culture, Protection of Monuments and Sports developed a programme for the cultural development of ethnic minorities. Ministry of Culture, Protection of Monuments and Sports Strategy (2007). In conformity with strategy IV - Development of Culture of National Minorities.


82 460 000


Danes, North Frisians, Sater Frisians, Sorbs, German Sinti and Roma


No programme based cultural policy for ethnic minorities. Current discussions on the need for cultural policy to address cultural interests and rights of participation and self-organisation of ethnic minorities. Federal Commissioner for Cultural and Media Affairs, made contribution to the new "National Plan for Integration"


11 057 000


In Greece there are no officially recognised national minority groups. A Muslim religious minority is recognised in the region of Thrace.



(2002 Census)

10 020 000


Armenians, Bulgarians, Croats, Germans, Greeks, Poles, Roma, Romanians, Ruthenians, Serbs, Slovaks, Slovenes and Ukrainians.

Act on National and Ethnic Minorities (1993) defining collective and individual rights

There is no main cultural policy document addressing national minority groups.


4 200 000


There are no officially recognised minority groups in Ireland.


There is no main cultural policy document

(2005 ISTAT)

58 462 375


Germans, Ladins, Slovenians, Croatians, Greeks, Albanians, Catalans

Article 6 Constitution of Italy (1947)and Law 482/99 providing civic and cultural rights with a focus on language.

There is no main cultural policy document addressing national minority groups.


2 261 300


Russians, Byelorussians, Ukrainians, Poles, Lithuanians, Estonians, Jews, others

Constitution of the Republic of Latvia; Law on Free Development and Rights for Cultural Autonomy of National and Ethnic Groups (1991)

Policy guidelines Social integration policy (adopted 2001); National Programme for Promoting Tolerance 2006-2010; National Programme Roma (Gypsies) in Latvia 2007-2009; National Long-term Special-Purpose Programme The Livonians (the Livs) in Latvia (1999).

(2001 Census)

3 445 000


Poles, Russians, Belorussians, Ukrainians, Other

Law on National Minorities (1991)

2004 Programme of Integration of National Minorities into Society for the years 2005 - 2010.

FYR of Macedonia
(2002 Census)

2 022 547


Albanians, Turks, Serbs, Romanies, Vlachs, Bosniaks, Other

Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia

The National Program for Culture 2004-2008 and Strategic Plan 2009-2011 identifies support for the projects of cultural minorities and emphasises their involvement in the entire range of cultural institutions.


3 388 000


Ukrainians, Russians, Bulgarians, Gagauz.

Constitution of the Republic of Moldova (1994);

The Law on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National Minorities and the Legal status of their Organisations of 19 August 2001.

There is no main cultural policy document addressing national minority groups


16 300 000



Covenant on the Frisian Language and Culture (2005)

While there is no main cultural policy document addressing the Frisan community, there are two important documents addressing diversity: 2001-2004 policy plan "Make Way for Cultural Diversity" and the cultural policy paper 2003 "More than the Sum".


4 600 000


Jews, Kvens, Roma, Romani People an Skogfins

Article 110a of the Constitution (1814);

Act on the Sàmi People (1987).

White Paper on Cultural Minorities (2000). 2008 declared by the parliament as the Year of Cultural Diversity.

(2002 Census)

38 600 000


National minorities:

Germans, Ukrainians, Armenians, Belarussians, Lithuanians, Slovaks, Czechs, Russians, Jews; ethnic minorities: Karaites, Lemkos, Roma, Tatars and one regional group: Kashubes

Article 35, Polish Constitution (1997);

National and Ethnic Minorities and Regional Languages Act (2005)

There is no main cultural policy document addressing national minority groups.



10 356 117


From Portuguese-speaking countries, e.g. Cape-verde, Angola and Brasil and also from Eastern Europe.

Article 78, Portuguese Constitution (1976).

There is no main cultural policy document addressing national minority groups.

(2002 Census)

145 000 000


More than 180 different ethnic communities.

Articles 26, and 69, Constitution of the Russian Federation (1993), Law on National Cultural Autonomy (1996); Law on Languages of the Peoples of the RSFSR (amended in 1998), Law on the Rights Guaranteed for Indigenous Peoples (1999); the Law on General Principles of Organising Communes among the Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and of the Far East of the RF (2000).

There is no main cultural policy document addressing national minority groups. The Concept of State National (ethnic) Policy (1996) is currently being revised. According to proposals by the Public Chamber (2007), this concept is to be based on contemporary notions of ethnic and cultural diversity, and human rights thus laying new principles for managing a diverse society.

San Marino

San Marino has a total of 39 533 inhabitants, out of whom 26 885 reside within the territory and 12 648 reside abroad, scattered all over the world

less than 1%

Italians, Romanians, Argentineans, Ukrainians, Russians, Poles, French and Albanians

Declaration on Citizen's Rights (1974)

There is no main cultural policy document addressing national minority groups as minorities are few

(2002 Official Statistics)

7 498 001


Montenegrins, Yugoslavs, Albanians, Bosnians, Bulgarians, Bunjevtsi, Vlachs, Gorani, Hungarians, Macedonians, Muslims, Germans, Roma, Romanians, Russians, Ruthenians, Slovaks, Slovenians, Ukrainians, Croatians, Czechs


Article 14 Constitution (2006); Law on the Protections of the Rights and Freedoms of National Minorities (2002)

The Ministry of Culture supports a number of cultural projects and programmes by ethnic communities from all over Serbia; Since 2009 all these programmes are "monitored" by the National councils representing ethnic minorities and first minority cultural institutes had been created in Novi Sad (Slovak and Ruthenes).

(December 31, 2007)

5 400 998

14.57 %

Hungarians (9.51%), Roma (1.89%), Czech (0.88%), Ruthenian (0.44%), Ukrainian (0.21%)

Chapter 4 Constitution of the Slovak Republic (1992);

Act on Application of Languages of National Minorities (1999)

Act on Designation of Communities in Languages of National Minorities (1994)

Policy Statement of the Government of the Slovak Republic (2006 -2010)

(2002 Census estimate)

1 978 852


Hungarians, Italians, Roma (three officially recognised minorities) and others ethnic groups: Croatians, Serbs, Bosnians, Macedonians, Albanians, Montenegrins

Article 64, Constitution of Slovenia (1991);

Self-Governing Ethnic Communities Act (1994)

Article 65Exercising of the Public Interest in Culture Act (2002)

The Roma Community Act (2007) defines the scope of special rights of the Roma Community, the jurisdiction of state authorities and the local community authorities in exercising those rights, and the organisation of the Roma community in order to implement their rights and obligations as set out by the Act.

Self-Governing Ethnic Communities Act defining the special rights of Italian and Hungarian minorities was adopted in 1994 already.

National Programme for Culture (2008-2011);

The Resolution for Italian and Hungarian minorities started parliamentarian procedure in 2007.


46 063 511

9.7% are immigrants

Roma (1.5%), Jewish (0.1%), Romanians (1.56%), Moroccan (1.55%), Ecuadorians (0.91%).


Article 14, Spanish Constitution (1978).

Article 70, Organic Act 4/2000 on the rights and liberties of foreign nationals in Spain and their social integration.


There is no main cultural policy document addressing national minority groups. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Culture has supported the creation of the "Roma Cultural Institute Foundation" (2007). In February 2007 the government approved the Strategic Plan on Citizenship and Integration (2007-2010) which recognizes equal rights and duties for everyone, equality of opportunities and respect for diversity.

On the other hand, the National Action Plan on Social Inclusion (2008-2010) stresses the need to aid the socio-professional integration of immigrant groups.


9 040 000


Swedish Finns, Tornedalers, Roma and Jews

Government Bill 1998/99:143 Nationella minoriteter i Sverige (National Minorities in Sweden)

2006 declared the Year of Cultural Diversity. First evaluation of its activities published in 2007.


8 100 000


87% Europeans, half of them from Germany (190 000), Serbia (190 000), Portugal (180 000) and Italy (290 000).



(2007 Official Statistics)

45 963 471


Russians, Byelorussians, Moldavians, Crimean Tatars, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Romanians, Poles, Jews, Armenians, Greeks, Tatars, Roma, Azerbaijanis, Georgians, Germans

Article 11 Constitution of Ukraine (1996); Declaration of Rights of Nationalities in the Ukraine (1991); Fundamentals of the Legislation on Culture (1992)

Presidential Edict on Measures Supporting the Activity of National and Cultural Societies (2001).

United Kingdom
(2001 Census*)

54 154 000

(non-white ethnic minority groups)

Indigenous: Roma, Welsh, Cornish, Celtic

Other: South Asians (Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis), Afro-Caribbean, Jews, Black Africans, Chinese, Turkish groups, Irish, Vietnamese

Race Relations Act (1976), Human Rights Act (1998), Northern Ireland Equality Act (1998), Race Relations Amendment Act (2000),

Racial and Religious Hatred Act (2006, England & Wales)

There is no main cultural policy document, but Black and Minority Ethnic groups are defined as a priority group by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and are included in Public Service Agreement Targets, set by the Treasury.

Source:      Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe, 20th edition, 2018.

*Country Notes:

Sweden:  The share of "minority groups" is extremely small. The largest one, the Sami group, consists of approx. 20.000 persons. The main focus of attention in Sweden is on the "new minorities" or immigrants coming mainly from South East Europe or from outside of Europe. They are not officially recognised "minority groups". Official population statistics show that, in 2006, the number of persons with a "foreign background" i.e., persons born in other countries and persons with both parents born in foreign countries, was 1.46 million or 16,2% of total population. 
UK: UK census 2001 available at: