The questions regarding the status of the minorities in the Balkans over the past two centuries, seen against the backdrop of various government policies and ideological patterns, or simply as a vital test of interethnic relations, have remained a focus of both political and scholarly attention. The state context and the status of various national and ethnic groups have often undergone dramatic changes.
The Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire, two dominant multiethnic and multicultural empires encompassing most of the Balkans, were seriously challenged by the rising national demands encouraged by the 1804 Serbian Revolution against Ottomans, and followed by a succession of wars for national liberation and the establishment of nation-states. In that context, the relationship between the new Balkan states and their majority nation (or majority nations), on the one hand, and their internationally protected minorities or other minority groups, on the other, were, throughout nineteenth and twentieth centuries, difficult and strained.
The minority question in the Balkans remains topical even now when some Balkan countries are integrated into the EU, while the government-minority relationship in the group of Western Balkan candidate, or potential candidate countries remains unsettled in many of its vital aspects. This volume, with contributions from renowned European scholars from several countries, including Serbia, France, Bulgaria, Romania and Germany, covers various important topics and, in particular, the shifting status of the minority groups in the contemporary Balkans.
Dusan T. Bataković, historian and diplomat, former director and current vice-director of the Institute for Balkan Studies of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, editor of the Institute's annual Balcanica, is since 2009 ambassador of Serbia to Paris* He published several books on Kosovo, Serbia and Yugoslavia, including Kosovo. Un conflit sans fin? (2009), and two edited volumes at the Institute: Kosovo and Metohija. Living in the Enclave (2007) and La Serbie et la France.Une alliance atypique 1870-1940 (2010).