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FUEN is a founding partner in the Competence Network Schleswig-Holstein/South Denmark

In Sankelmark, the supporting association for the "Minority Competence Network Schleswig-Holstein/South Denmark" was founded. The aim is to promote understanding for autochthonous national minorities and ethnic groups as well as their language and culture and to support the exchange of information and experience between the minorities and ethnic groups in relation to the majority population – primarily in Europe.

"With this closing of ranks of minority associations, we want to contribute our competence in minority policy even more strongly as an example of best practice in Europe – through projects, seminars and measures of encounter and exchange," said Johannes Callsen, the Minority Commissioner of the State of Schleswig-Holstein, welcoming the founding of the network. At the beginning of 2019, Callsen had suggested that the content of the originally planned House of Minorities should be continued in a network of minority associations and that, within this framework, encounters and exchanges between national minorities and ethnic groups and also with the majority population in Europe should be ensured. Especially in the year of the 100th anniversary of the peaceful demarcation of borders in 2020, this was an important signal.

The chairman of the network, Uwe Jessen, added: "The projects of the network are to take place in Schleswig-Holstein or the region of Southern Denmark, thus also strengthening the region's role in minority policy at European level.

The founding members of the network are the Bund Deutscher Nordschleswiger (BDN), the Friesenrat Sektion Nord, Sydslesvigsk Forening (SSF), the Verband Deutscher Sinti und Roma Landesverband Schleswig-Holstein, the European Academy Schleswig-Holstein, the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) and the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN). "The minority organisations of our region with their great competence are carriers and initiators for this network. Through this network they can show other minorities in Europe positive examples of minority support in our region," said Callsen, who moderated the founding process. The state will financially support the Minority Competence Network and thus enable projects in the sense of minority promotion.

The elected board is composed as follows:

Chairman: Uwe Jessen (Bund Deutscher Nordschleswiger)

Deputy Chairman: Frank Nickelsen (Friesenrat)

Treasurer: Éva Adél Pénzes (FUEN)

Secretary: Christian Pletzing (European Academy)

Assessors: Anna Weiß (Verband Deutscher Sinti und Roma Landesverband Schleswig-Holstein), Jens A. Christiansen (SSF) and Prof. Dr. Vello Pettai (ECMI)

The management of the Minority Competence Network is carried out by the European Academy Schleswig-Holstein in Sankelmark.

Photo: Founding board, from left to right: Prof. Dr. Vello Pettai (ECMI), Anna Weiß (Association of German Sinti and Roma, LV S-H), Dr. Christian Pletzing (Europäische Akademie Sankelmark), Uwe Jessen (BDN), Frank Nickelsen (Friesenrat), Éva Adél Pénzes (FUEN), J. A. Chrstiansen (SSF), MB Johannes Callsen 

(Staatskanzlei des Landes Schleswig-Holstein)