According to some sources there are around 5,000 national mirity groups living in the contemporary world, and about 3,000 linguistic groups. However, this is probably a discretionary assessment as it seems that there are exact figures with respect to the number and size of mirity groups. The existing estimates are usually based on different and sometimes t very clear criteria and mostly take into account those groups and numbers which are the result of the individual choice of a person and are t based exclusively on the objective differences. Notwithstanding this, a brief calculation would indicate that in Western Europe 14. 7% of the total population belongs to mirity groups, and the same percentage exists in the Central and Eastern European region - 14. 7%, whereas in the countries belonging to the Commonwealth of Independent States this percentage is slightly higher - at 18. 9%. Throughout the history of the European continent mirities have had a significant impact on political stability and security. Currently, most of the situations of internal tension as well as conflicts, whether internal or international, involve inter-ethnic relations. Thus the international community at large and - for the European mirities more importantly - the European institutions have placed mirity issues high on their 'agenda.
Dr. S. Trifunovska is currently a Senior University Lecturer at the Law Faculty, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. She is also the editor of Minorities in Europe: Croatia, Estonia and Slovakia