Federal Union of European Nationalities
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Autochthonous minorities in Europe

Definition: The autochthonous, national minorities / ethnic groups are the minorities that came into being as a result of developments in European history, as a result of the changes of state borders and other historical events. The autochthonous, national minorities / ethnic groups are also the peoples of Europe who have never established a state of their own and who live as a minority in the territory of a state. (from the FUEN Charter)

There are more than 400 European minority groups on the continent. Altogether, in Europe there are more than 100 million people belonging to autochthonous minorities, while in the EU their number exceeds 50 million. One in seven Europeans is part of an autochthonous minority or speaks a regional or minority language. The needs and challenges of these communities are very heterogeneous. There are excellent models to achieve a balance between minorities and majorities in Europe, but there are also states that deny the existence of their autochthonous minorities.

According to official numbers of the EU there are, apart from 24 official languages of the European Union, more than 60 regional and minority languages. The total number of minority language speakers is estimated at 40 million citizens. In the whole of Europe there are 90 languages; 37 of these are national languages, and 53 languages are regarded as “languages without a state”.

The European minorities ask for more attention and influence in their regions, their states and on the European level. FUEN is here to help them.

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