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FUEN President addressed the 32nd Estonian Forum of National Minorities

On Sunday, FUEN President MEP Loránt Vincze addressed in a video message the 32nd Estonian Forum of National Minorities, which marks the National Minorities Day in Estonia, the founding date in 1988 of FUEN Member Organisation the Estonian Union of National Minorities.

“This event gives today the opportunity for the majority and minorities from Estonia to celebrate together, since the Estonian Union of National Minorities strongly supported the restoration of the Republic of Estonia’s independence at its first Forum of National Minorities” – said the FUEN President. He recalled that the FUEN has long been inspired by the example of minorities in Estonia. FUEN even traces its roots to a forerunner organisation, the Congress of European Nationalities, which was co-founded in 1925 by Ewald Ammende, an Estonian journalist of Baltic German heritage, who played a key role in the creation of the first Law on the Cultural Autonomy of Minorities in Estonia.

“Much has changed, for the better, since Ammende’s time in minority protection. Together with the Estonian Union of National Minorities, we wholeheartedly supported the aim of Estonia to join the European Union in 2004. We welcomed the signing and ratification of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, and we hope that in the future Estonia will decide to sign and ratify the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages as well” – said Loránt Vincze.

He praised Estonia’s Kindred Peoples Programme, which supports the development and preservation of the languages and cultures of kindred autochthonous Finno-Uralic minorities and the government’s Compatriots Programme, which supports the cultural and educational institutions of Estonian national minority communities. He also set the Estonian Public Broadcaster’s dedicated radio station for linguistic minorities and its Russian-language free-to-air television channel as good examples in the audio-visual fields.

“Such best practices highlight how European Union Member States could benefit by learning from one another via setting common standards in minority rights protection. Obviously, there is a lot more to do. The protection of national minorities, their language, their cultural institutions, their tradition and their education need constant promotion, support, understanding and dialogue. This is why we hope the Estonian government and Riigikogu will endorse our Minority SafePack Initiative. To this end, it was a pleasure for me to visit Tallinn in January this year, where I presented the Minority SafePack to representatives of the Riigikogu and the government” – the FUEN President said in his video message, adding that in 2022, the FUEN plans to celebrate its 67th annual Congress and Assembly of Delegates in Estonia’s capital, Tallinn.