If Europe in its long historic and dendritic development has common patterns, one might be its heterogeneity. Europe was and is shaped by its different regions and minorities within national borders.
Regionalization in Central Eastern Europe was often suspected of playing into the hands of minorities seeking centrifugal autonomy and thus endangering the perspective national entity. There is little reason to proclaim an “end of history” in regionalization, decentralization and minorities. The developments in Czechoslovakia 1989/90, in former Yugoslavia in the 1990ies and the reshaping of Serbia since 2001 have proved this beyond doubt. Within the EU there is reason to hope that any changes will be peaceful and achieved through political and social consensus.New trends in the EU Regional and Cohesion policy from 2014 on will have a significant impact. This new policy approach will lead to the motivation of decentralized structures to enter a transnational and transregional dialogue with possible likeminded partners within the EU.
The present volume on regional decentralization and minorities in CEE would like to proffer an open and unbiased debate in the area. The approach links the two issues with respect to the countries of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, thus incorporating some of the hot spots in recent history.