Nationalism with a ‘human’ face (under the veil of integration): Is the ECtHR allowing and thus fueling nationalist politics?

Recent judgments of the ECtHR provide nationalists with an opportunity to promote a nationalist discourse that is seemingly in line with human rights, but fundamentally at odds with the counter-majoritarian core of human rights. The analysis focuses on several judgments in which the ECtHR accepts arguments of liberal democratic states to infringe fundamental rights of persons belonging to (immigrant) Muslim minorities in the name of ‘requirements of living together’ or ‘social integration’. Strikingly, the justifications by the States for these infringements point to perceived threats to national identity by the divergent way of life of minorities. In accepting these nationalist justifications, the Court contradicts its steady line of jurisprudence since Chapman on liberal democracies’ need to protect minorities’ identity and lifestyle, and develops reasoning that downsizes human rights to fit the government’s perspective on what is needed to obtain an integrated society.