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The Committee of the Regions praises preparations of Minority Citizens Initiative

Péter Kovács, the secretary general and Loránt Vincze, international secretary of Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania - RMDSZ, member of FUEN and founding partner of the Minority Citizens Initiative,  had an exchange of views with Gerhard Stahl, secretary general of the Brussels' based EU institution, Committee of the Regions - CoR. Two important topics were on the agenda: the new regional and administrative system planned by the coalition government in Romania and the Minority ECI.

Loránt Vincze has presented the background of the preparations, the intention of the founding partners, and the policy areas in which the Minority SafePack will ask practical measures from the European Commission. Our main focuses are the national identity-related field - use of mother tongue, education, culture, as well as regional policy, representation, equality and non-discrimination, and media. In the Europe of the regions minority communities and languages are important values, which need to be protected and promoted. For this reason we ask the CoR to support the initiative of the founding partners, the FUEN, the RMDSZ and the South Tyrolean People's Party. - stated the international secretary.

Gerhard Stahl praised the minority initiative for looking into the future and for making a step ahead by leaving behind bad reflexes and paralyzing constraints. The CoR secretary general also appreciated the European minority solidarity created by the ECI, which seeks the interest of many minority communities from all over the EU. All this will also strengthen the regions and will highlight the local values. Once registered, the Minority ECI is welcomed in the CoR - stated Gerhard Stahl.

The launch of the citizens’ initiative will be at the largest congress of the minorities in Europe – the FUEN Congress – that will take place in Brixen in the summer of 2013. One million signatures should be collected by the time the election for the European Parliament will take place in 2014.

The founding partners of the initiative are the representative organisation of the Democratic Alliance of the Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ)  and the South Tyrolean People’s Party (SVP) – they are both members of the umbrella organisation of the minorities in Europe, FUEN. 

The second item on the agenda of the meeting at the CoR was the new regional and administrative system planned by the coalition government in Romania. Péter Kovács presented the intentions of the Romanian governmental majority to give administrative powers to the existing regions. He pointed out, that the debate focuses only on political issues. Romanian politicians speak about regionalisation with a pen in their hands with the intention of instantly redraw the regions. Their only concern seems to be to keep apart the Hungarian regions and by this giving an ethnic character to the whole debate. We refuse to accept this - said during the meeting the secretary general of the RMDSZ. We are the only political force which has expert opinions and economic data regarding the territorial cohesion of regions. We have proven with figures that the historical cohesion, the local and linguistically identity of a region, is also valid for the economic cohesion. In consequence the RMDSZ will not accept the Hungarian regions to be separated - stated Péter Kovács.

Gerhard Stahl, the secretary general of the CoR agreed that well prepared analysis and economic data should stay behind a political decision. The Committee of the Regions makes recommendations to the member states only on how to increase the absorption rate of the EU funds and the territorial cohesion. Brussels does not require that the regions become administrative units to regions, neither to have stronger competencies from the government.

COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE