FUEN presented the current situation of European minorities in Toronto27.06.2019
At the invitation of the International Association of Language Commissioners, FUEN president Loránt Vincze presented the current situation of European national minorities at the association’s 6th International Conference in Toronto, Canada on Wednesday.
Mr Vincze pointed out that although the motto of the European Union is “United in diversity”, this diversity only means the 24 official languages. “But what about the several dozens of minority languages in the member states, like the Frisian language in Netherlands, the Welsh in the UK, the Sorbian language in Germany, and so on? From this point of view the EU could not live up to this diversity dilemma. For example you cannot have a project in minority languages for EU funding, because only the official languages can apply. Something needs to be done, and my organization, the FUEN, with other NGOs from Europe, started a Citizens’ Initiative for the protection and promotion of the autochthonous minorities” – said the FUEN president, adding that the Minority SafePack Initiative already gathered more than one million signatures and will be presented to the European Commission before the end this year.
Loránt Vincze underlined the importance of international organisations, language commissioners, ombudsman and anti-discrimination councils not only in supervising the application of law but also in shaping public opinion. “We have to admit that political decisions are in large part determined by the pressure of the society, and public opinion is often tuned against minority communities. We must act together to change the public opinion: minorities should not be seen as a threat, nor should their goals be seen as an attack on the state or the majority language” – said the FUEN president in Toronto.
The two-day conference brought together high level representatives from international organizations and state governments as well as language commissioners, ombudsmen, experts and members of community organizations from around the world. The event explores the pivotal role of language ombudsmen in the protection of minority-language communities and as indispensable tools for societal integration, peace building and conflict prevention in multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic societies. It highlights institutions that promote and protect indigenous languages in light of the UN’s International Year of Indigenous Languages, as well as focus on the impact of technology on the future of minority language protection worldwide.
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