Minority Groups as Socio-Economic Development Factor of the Emerging EU Region in the Opinion of Regional Authorities: Evidence from Poland and the German Minority
Purpose: This paper aims to show the positive role of the German minority in Poland by considering its influence on socio-economic development. Design/Methodology/Approach: The novel approach is to find the relationship between the presence of the German minority and the socio-economic regional development in the opinion of local authorities. For this purpose, the survey method was used. The surveys were conducted among the Opole Province local authorities concerning their opinion about the role of the German minority in respect of particular areas of socio-economic development. Findings: The main achievement of this paper is establishing that the German minority living in Poland, mainly in the Opole Province, has had a remarkable positive impact on several economic, social, cultural, and demographic phenomena, as well as on improving Polish-German relations in the opinion of regional authorities. Practical Implications: The results of the analysis might be used in shaping an appropriate development policy. They may also indicate the need for appropriate management of minority groups in regional development, and on the other hand, to use ethnic diversity as a potential of the region, a primarily economic one. Originality/Value: Research results can contribute to theoretical models regarding ethnic groups and local and regional development.