According to Countryaah, there are a total of 45 independent nations and 6 dependent territories in Europe. In today’s Europe, several groups invoke special political rights, citing peoples. This applies both to state-bearing groups such as the Serbs, Estonians and Greeks, as well as to larger and smaller groups who are minorities in the state in which they live. Among the minority groups, there is reason to differentiate between different types of peoples, as their self-understanding, problems and demands vary by type. Three basic types can be distinguished: micronations, national minorities and ethnic minorities.
Micronations are characterized by having a bounded territory to which the group in question has a historically documented relationship. Micronation peoples can be quite large like Catalonia’s ca. 7.5 million inhabitants and quite small like the Sami who count approx. 60,000. Micronations to varying degrees require political independence in line with state-bearing peoples, nations. Their claims thus relate to the sovereignty of the states, which they contend within their own territory. Furthermore, micronations are characterized by the fact that there is no state in which their culture and language are dominant.
National minorities are groups that identify with the language and culture of a neighboring country. In western Europe, these groups usually do not require border audits, but greater local autonomy and recognition of their languages on a par with the dominant one. In eastern Europe, national minorities are considered a danger to political stability, and many of their organizations require more or less loud border audits. Thus, the demands of the national minorities, like the sovereignty of the micronation states, are concerned.
The actual ethnic minorities differ significantly from these two groups, primarily because their identity and political ambitions are not tied to territorial relations. They do not claim homelands in Europe, although two of the best-known ethnic minorities, the Jews and Gypsies, both have a long history as European peoples. Only a few small groups of ethnic minorities in Europe make demands that will affect the sovereignty of states, especially in matters of dual citizenship. Most simply demand the right to organize around linguistic and religious matters.
|Country||Main export goods||Largest trading partner|
|Albania||clothing, shoes, building materials, metal, fossil fuels, electricity, food||Italy, Greece, China, Germany, Turkey|
|Armenia||metals, minerals, diamonds, foods||Russia, Germany, China, Iran|
|Azerbaijan||oil and gas, machinery, cotton, food||Italy, France, USA, Turkey, Russia, China, Germany|
|Belgium||vehicles and machinery, chemical products, food, diamonds||Germany, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||wood, paper, steel, energy||Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, Germany, Austria|
|Bulgaria||clothing and footwear, metals and metal products, chemicals, plastics and rubber||Germany, Italy, Russia, Turkey, Greece|
|Cyprus||citrus fruits, potatoes. medicines, cement, clothing 1||Greece, Germany, Great Britain, Italy|
|Denmark||machinery, instruments, agricultural products, oil, pharmaceuticals, chemical products, furniture, textiles and clothing, fish and shellfish||Germany, Sweden, Great Britain|
|Estonia||machinery and electrical equipment, timber and wood products, mineral products, metals, textiles, food||Finland, Sweden, Russia, Germany, Latvia|
|Finland||electronics, engineering products, chemicals||Germany, Sweden, Russia|
|France||nuclear reactors, vehicles, machinery, electronics, aircraft, telecommunications equipment, agricultural products, perfumes and cosmetics||Germany, Italy, Spain, Great Britain, USA, China, Belgium|
|Georgia||metals, wine and fruit||Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan|
|Greece||agricultural products, olive oil, textiles, steel, aluminum||Germany, Italy, Great Britain, France|
|Ireland||chemicals, pharmaceuticals, computers, software and transport equipment||USA, Great Britain, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and other EU countries|
|Iceland||seafood, aluminum||The Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, Norway, China|
|Italy||machines, textiles, chemicals, vehicles||Germany, France, USA, China, Switzerland and the Netherlands|
|Kosovo||metals, minerals and food (2010)||Northern Macedonia, Italy, Albania, Switzerland, Germany (2010)|
|Croatia||machinery and transport equipment, engineering products, chemical products, minerals, fuel and lubricants||Italy, Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Austria, Russia,|
|Latvia||wood, wood products, textiles, metals, machinery and equipment, food||Germany, Great Britain, Sweden, Lithuania, Russia, Finland|
|Liechtenstein||machines, electronics, dental products, metal goods, optical equipment||EU countries, Switzerland, USA|
|Lithuania||oil products, food, chemicals, machinery, electrical equipment, electronics||Russia, Latvia, Germany, Estonia, Poland|
|Luxembourg||steel and other metal goods, machinery, electronics, plastic goods, vehicles, rubber goods||Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Great Britain, China|
|Northern Macedonia||catalysts, electronics, vehicle parts, iron and steel, textiles||Germany, Serbia, Great Britain, Greece, Bulgaria|
|Malta||machinery, transport equipment, foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, goods from the manufacturing industry (eg clothing)||Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy|
|Moldova||agricultural products, textiles||Russia, Ukraine, Romania|
|Montenegro||raw materials, aluminum, machinery and transport equipment||–|
|Netherlands||machinery, transport equipment, chemical products, natural gas, food||Germany, Belgium, France, Great Britain, China, Italy|
|Norway||oil, natural gas, metals, machinery, fish, chemical products||Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark|
|Poland||steelworks products and machinery, ships, railway carriages, cars, furniture and wood products, clothing, food, coal||Germany, Great Britain, Russia, China, Italy|
|Portugal||agricultural products (eg wine), machinery, electrical equipment, vehicles, clothing, textiles, shoes, pulp, cork||France, Germany, Spain|
|Romania||machines, metals, textiles and shoes, chemicals, agricultural products||Germany, Italy, France, Hungary, Turkey, China|
|Russia||oil, oil products, natural gas, timber, wood products, metals, chemicals, weapons||Germany, USA, UK, Italy, China, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan|
|San Marino||building stone, limestone, wood products||Italy|
|Switzerland||chemicals, machinery, electronics, watches, precision instruments, metal||Germany, Italy, France, USA|
|Serbia||iron and steel, rubber, clothing, wheat, fruit and vegetables, metals, electrical appliances, weapons and ammunition||Germany, Italy, Russia|
|Slovakia||machinery and transport equipment, semi-finished products, electronics||Germany, Czech Republic, Russia, Poland, France|
|Slovenia||machinery and transport equipment, industrial inputs, chemicals, clothing, food||Germany, Italy, Croatia, Austria, France|
|Spain||vehicles, machinery and machine parts, chemicals, wine, fruit, vegetables||France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Great Britain|
|UK||computers and other electronic equipment, vehicles, pharmaceuticals, engineering products, crude oil,||EU countries, especially Germany, the Netherlands and France, the United States and China|
|Sweden||machinery and vehicles, pharmaceuticals and chemicals, electronics and telecommunications equipment, minerals, paper and wood||Germany, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, USA, Finland|
|Czech Republic||machinery, vehicles and transport equipment 2||Slovakia, Poland, EU, Russia|
|Turkey||clothing, food, textiles, metal goods, transport equipment||Germany, Russia, China, USA, UK, Italy, France, Iraq|
|Germany||vehicles and other workshop products, chemical products, electronics, household appliances||France, USA, Netherlands, UK, China, Italy|
|Ukraine||coal, metals, agricultural products||Russia, China, Turkey, Germany, Turkmenistan, USA, Poland, Italy, Switzerland|
|Hungary||machinery and transport equipment, other industrial goods, foodstuffs||Germany, Austria, Italy, Russia, Romania, Slovakia, China|
|Vatican City State||–||–|
|Belarus||petrol and diesel, machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food||Russia, the Netherlands, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland|
|Austria||machines, transport equipment, textiles, paper, metals||Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France, Hungary, USA|
The background for self-understanding and demands among all three groups must be found in recent European history of ideas. For the past millennium, Europe has been organized on the basis of dynastic or geopolitical principles rather than ethnic and/or linguistic community. Nevertheless, in modern times one also distinguishes between different peoples or groups of people, which are defined in particular by linguistic criteria. The European language families were scientifically established in the 1800s. based on the discovery of the common features of the Indo-European languages. In particular, people operated on Germanic, Celtic, Romanian, Slavic and Arabic languages. From the 1870s onwards, a certain political organization according to language criteria took place in the so-called pan-Slavic, Germanic etc. organizations. However, these attempts to organize Europeans politically according to tribal languages were of little practical use, as the language families most often stretched across established political state borders. However, some smaller states are in the 1900s. established on a language political basis, such as Czechoslovakia (later the Czech Republic), which from 1918 was established as a federal state on the basis of the newly established Czech written language; Finland (1917), Ireland (from 1921) and Iceland (from 1944). However, for all these states (except Iceland), the political boundaries do not fully follow the boundaries of peoples if they are defined as language groups.
The concept of peoples has played a key role in the territorial boundaries of ethnic and linguistic minorities, the micronations in Europe. From the 1880s powerful political organizations were developed in a large number of linguistic minority areas, which still today represent considerable political power. This was the case with Catalonia, the Basque Country, Brittany, Wales, Cornwall and Scotland, all of which before 1900 had established their own writing language and their own political organizations based on the local language. A little later came the organization of Occitania (southern France), and by 1918 a movement among micronations across Europe was so advanced that pan-European conferences could be organized around common demands. Early in the interwar period, the pervasive political demands of these organizations were a federalization of the existing states. Czechoslovakia was highlighted as a model that should be extended to other multilingual states. However, fascism in Italy from 1922 and especially Nazism in Germany from 1933 caused many minorities to revise their views on state organization on the basis of the idea of peoples. Both of these totalitarian-led states appeared in the arena of peoples as pan-national. Italy thus described the enclave of Romanian-speaking minorities in neighboring countries as “temporarily lost” Italian territories, which the Mussolini government demanded “return” to Italy. These included areas in France (Savoy, Corsica, parts of the Riviera) and areas in Switzerland, Austria and the Yugoslav Adriatic Coast. Similarly, Hitler’s Germany not only considered all of Austria, the German-speaking, Czech Sudeterland and the German-speaking, French Alsace-Lorraine as the hometown of the German Empire, but was also of the belief that Europe’s other German-speaking territories constituted independent states only by historical misunderstanding. The conquest of these areas was therefore justified by an idea of the common destiny of the peoples. Although there were groups in the minority areas that welcomed the fascist and Nazi initiatives, the majority were, by all accounts, skeptical, both because the totalitarian social arrangement in Germany and Italy opposed the intellectuals who constituted the central groups in the minority political organizations. because the prospect of being engulfed in the language community of a larger mother or father did not, in fact, meet their demands for recognition as independent peoples.
Somewhat differently, the case stood for the national minorities who had been placed on the “wrong” side of a state border by relatively new frontiers, especially the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, having always identified themselves with the neighboring state. South Tyrol and North Schleswig are examples of such areas where national minorities who identified themselves as Germans have to some extent sympathized with the German ambitions to expand the state’s territory. However, neither the Schleswig nor the Tyrolean border was moved. In South Tyrol, a referendum in 1939 showed that there was no majority for a border change, after which a significant portion of the German minority emigrated to Germany. In Schleswig, the boundary was similarly established by a 1919 referendum.
For certain ethnic minorities in Europe, the notion of peoples came to play a particularly cruel role during World War II. Jews and Gypsies were systematically murdered as “foreign elements” in Europe, and especially in Germany and the rest of Central Europe, these people groups almost disappeared. After the end of the war, the Jews established a state outside Europe, based on the European concept of peoples. The creation of Israel can thus be regarded as a direct consequence of the idea of political organization after peoples. In the immediate post-war period, this political thought was discredited in Europe, but from the late 1960s it resurfaced as the core of minorities’ self-understanding in relation to European nation states. Several micronations seized weapons during this period, from the Basque Country across Catalonia to Corsica. Certain national minorities – in Northern Ireland and South Tyrol – also developed terrorist organizations. However, the majority of Western European minorities confined themselves to an ideological struggle in which they, in turn, had some progress. In contemporary overviews of micronations and national minorities in Europe, there are about 80 named and organized communities. Within the European Union, micronations and national minorities have found allies In contemporary overviews of micronations and national minorities in Europe, there are about 80 named and organized communities according to Abbreviationfinder. Within the European Union, micronations and national minorities have found allies In contemporary overviews of micronations and national minorities in Europe, there are about 80 named and organized communities. Within the European Union, micronations and national minorities have found allies The European Commission and a certain community in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. In 1994, the Regional Advisory Council was established, where the views of minority areas play a significant role, as did the Council of Europe. sitting states that are not EU members have adopted recommendations on cultural self-determination for minorities.
The most acute problems in Europe in the late 1900s. has, as always, the ethnic minorities; the Arab, Iranian, Turkish, Pakistani and Indian minorities as well as the Gypsies are often subjected to abuse and suspicion in a Europe where the idea of peoples as the obvious political basis is alive again.