AS GERMANS prepare to cast their vote in federal elections on September 22nd, in neighbouring Poland a group of Polish citizens are also debating whether or not to give Angela Merkel, the chancellor, a few more years in office. For the first time Poland's tiny German minority is allowed to vote in German elections. The freedom stems from a decision last year by Germany's constitutional court allowing Germans living outside the country to vote, even if they were not born there. The decision has been gratefully received by Poland's German community, estimated to be around 350,000 strong.
Source: The Economist, "Angela Merkel's voters in Lower Silesia"
I am sure those in the Silesian Separatist Movement will use this cross border voting right to further their own cause. Others may dismiss all of this as mere gesture politics since those Silesians who are eligible to vote are quite small in numbers and those who actually vote are likely to be even smaller.
For me it is just another example of a trend among EU states to recognize their ethnic and linguistic diaspora even when their ties have become more and more tenuous over the decades.
about this previously regarding the Polish government's declared and pro-active interest in protecting the culture and rights of Poles who have become citizens abroad; particularly in Lithuania.
And this past April the Czech government made a very substantial donation to a town in the American state of Texas following a fertilizer plant explosion for the following reason:
The Czech foreign minister said while on a trip to Brussels his country will donate $200,000 to West, Texas, where a fertilizer plant explosion killed 15. Karel Schwarzenberg, the foreign minister, made the announcement in Brussels Tuesday, saying most of the money will be used to rebuild the Sokol building in the town, Radio Prague reported. Three-quarters of the inhabitants of West, Texas, are of Czech descent. Sokol is a gymnastic society founded in 1862 to promote Czech culture and social life.
Source: UPI, "After blast, Czech Republic makes donation to West, Texas."
It is clear that after years of EU expansion and open border policies (both internally to any and all EU citizens as well as de facto to anyone else on the planet who felt like showing up) more and more individual EU states have become keen on identifying with and helping those with whom they share a common history and a common heritage.
True. That is one of reasons why Polish, Czechs, Slovak and Bulgarian youth group and coordinate in order to support Serbians
Perhaps, but my thread is about elected governments in the EU recognizing and extending a helping hand and even citizenship-like rights to their own national minority groups which have long existed in other countries.