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Securing the support of Slovenia for the Minority SafePack

The FUEN had on Monday, 22 July a successful working visit in Ljubljana. The purpose of the delegation led by President Loránt Vincze and Vice President Angelika Mlinar, leaders of Slovene Member Organisations, Amb. Valentin Inzko NSKS from Carinthia and Walter Bandelj SSO from Italy and FUEN Advisor Nagy Dénes András, was to gain the support of the government and the parliament of Slovenia for the Minority SafePack Initiative, which aims to protect national communities and to promote linguistic and cultural diversity.

Supported by 1,128,385 EU citizens – including 6,168 citizens of Slovenia – Minority SafePack is a European Citizens' Initiative that contains nine proposals. Combined, they intend to form a foundation for the establishment of a comprehensive EU Minority Rights Legal Framework. To secure official Slovenian support for the initiative, the delegation met President Dejan Židan of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure Alenka Bratušek, Minister Peter Jožef Česnik, Responsible for Relations between the Republic of Slovenia and the Autochthonous Slovenian National Community in Neighbouring Countries as well as Dobran Božič State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The FUEN President introduced the MSPI as the main project of the FUEN and the European autochthonous minorities. “Europe must support the cultural and linguistic diversity with meaningful action, legal acts that would ensure the preservation of an important part of Europe’s cultural heritage. We aim to gain not only the support of the EU institutions, but also of the individual member states, therefore the endorsement of the Slovenian Government and Parliament is crucial” – stated Loránt Vincze. FUEN Vice President Angelika Mlinar highlighted the minority protection framework Slovenia has in place for the Hungarian and Italian autochthonous communities that could become a good practice in Europe. “We need to act together in Europe, to have a dialogue on the protection of national minorities in Europe and to offer real solutions. In this process Slovenia could have a leading role” – said Angelika Mlinar. Ambassador Valentin Inzko, also as a member of the MSPI Citizens’ Committee praised the role of the FUEN in putting the minority protection issue on the European agenda. According to Mr Inzko: “The MSPI is an important project, we have to do our utmost so that it becomes reality”.

Deputy Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek confirmed that she and her party support the Minority SafePack initiative. Ms Bratušek promised to support a cross-party parliamentary resolution endorsing Minority SafePack. Minister Peter Jožef Česnik announced that he will call for the support of the Minority SafePack Initiative at the 2019 Bled Strategic Forum. Furthermore, Minister Česnik shared his view that he is in favour of the creation of a portfolio charging a European Commissioner with responsibility for National Minorities and Cultural and Linguistic Diversity. State Secretary Božič shared his view that the Minority SafePack is an instrument by which existing best practices at member state-level – such as those of the Republic of Slovenia – may be lifted onto the European Union-level. The State Secretary furthermore noted that the topic of national minority protection should become a key point of focus during the upcoming 2021 Slovenian Presidency of the European Council. Finally, in the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, President Dejan Židan pledged that FUEN will have the opportunity to present the Minority SafePack initiative in the National Assembly committees.

COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE