One more win for European minorities before the Court of Justice of the EU24.09.2019
The promoters of the Minority SafePack European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) were vindicated for the second time by the European Court of Justice in a case brought against it by Romania. On June 28 2017, the country brought proceedings before the Court seeking the annulment of the Commission’s decision to register the ECI. The decision of the General Court confirms that the European Commission took the right decision when – also following a previous ruling of the Court – it gave the ECI the green light.
“After a series of lost lawsuits in this field, Romania must seriously reflect on what is in its best interest: to isolate itself in Europe by refusing the settlement of the minority rights at a European level, or to adopt a supportive stance towards the issue, accepting that neither the majority populations nor the Member States themselves have anything to lose if the EU takes action for the protection of minority languages and cultures. We are very pleased that the ruling of the Court of the European Union has once again proved us right ”, said Loránt Vincze, President of the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN), which coordinated the collection of the ECI signatures at European level.
“The General Court observes that the legal acts referred to in the proposed ECI are deemed to contribute both to ensuring respect for the rights of persons belonging to minorities, which is an EU value, and to respecting and promoting cultural and linguistic diversity in the EU, which is an EU objective. In that respect, the General Court finds that, contrary to Romania’s claims, the Commission, in the contested decision, is not conceding that the EU has general competence in these areas, but only that these EU values and objectives referred to in the EU Treaty must be taken into account in EU actions in the areas covered by the proposed ECI” – says the press release on the judgment of the General Court of the European Union.
The General Court adds that, “while in the areas for which the EU is competent the Commission is entitled to submit proposals for legal acts which take account of the values and objectives addressed by the proposed ECI, nothing must prevent it from submitting proposals for specific acts which, as in the present case, are deemed to supplement EU action in the areas for which it is competent in order to ensure respect for the values in the EU Treaty”.
In 2013, the European Commission rejected the registration of the Minority SafePack, a decision that was appealed by the initiating citizens’ committee before the EU General Court. At the beginning of 2017, the Court ultimately ruled in favor of the initiators, following which an agreement was reached between the European Commission and the initiators, making possible the start of succesful signature collection process. At that time as well, Romania entered the proceedings on the camp aiming to have the initiative dismissed by the Court, and supported the Commission in its initial decision to refuse the ECI.
The 1 128 385 authenticated statements of support for the Minority SafePack Initiative will be submitted to the European Commission on 3 December. By the beginning of November, FUEN will finalize the draft legislation proposals based on the initiative drafted by a team of international experts. These will be submitted to the Commission together with the signatures. Following its submission, the European Commission will have three months to make a statement on the initiative.
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