Germany’s policy towards German ethnic minorities in Central and Eastern Europe is relocated within the framework of the country’s Ostpolitik as it developed continuously since the 1960s. Ostpolitik aiming at peace and reconciliation, the author remarks that during the Cold War period political engagement with German minorities remained largely limited to facilitating the emigration of ethnic Germans from their host-countries. A first change is observed from the early 1990s onwards with the development of bilateral relationships that allow both respective parties to tackle the issue of minority protection and external support for ethnic Germans. However, Germany’s external minority policy remains part of a more comprehensive foreign policy approach towards its eastern neighbours that aims at a stabilisation of democracy and the creation of a market economy ― making minorities one of the beneficiaries of a cooperative rather than confrontational foreign policy.

The Redaction
CER: II-7.4.A-623