Abstract. In the law of the EC/EU the protection of national minorities is still a marginal matter. The EU has relied on general international law and on a European regional system of international law and, in case of necessity, accepted their norms. But in the 1990s there began a process of "de-economisation of the European integration" and the importance of national minorities became higher. Protection of the national minorities has not become a generally accepted legally binding principle of the EU, although in several legal acts issues of national minorities are mentioned. On the other hand, the political relevance of national minorities' protection is very high. The importance of protection of national minorities in future will probably grow. It is a result of the adoption of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU (2000) and of the discussions regarding the European constitution and the Treaty of Lisbon.
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