27th Annual Conference of German Minorities successfully concluded

- Press releases

The 27th Annual Meeting of the Working Group of German Minorities (AGDM) took place in Berlin from 5 to 8 November 2018 under the umbrella of the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN). The conference was attended by 53 representatives and youth representatives of minority organisations from 19 European countries and countries of the former Soviet Union.

The German minorities are of great importance for the Federal Republic of Germany, as they are engaged abroad in the cultivation of German culture and especially the German language and act as bridge-builders between the states. The German Federal Government reiterates its promise that it will continue to protect the interests of German minorities and stand by them in partnership.

This position was assured to the representatives of the German minorities during the conference by the new Federal Government Commissioner for Matters Related to Ethnic German Resettlers and National Minorities, Prof. Dr. Bernd Fabritius. According to him, the Federal Government continues to bear its historical responsibility towards the remaining German minorities and will continue to support and advocate for them in the future.

On Monday, 5 November, the conference of the Association of German Minorities (AGDM) began with a minute's silence for Ottó Heinek, former chairman of the Hungarian-German Representation (LdU), who died of a serious illness in August 2018 at the age of 58.

Afterwards, the conference points were turned to. The programme of the largest conference of German minorities included numerous meetings with high-ranking political representatives.

An important item on the agenda was the meeting with the Federal Government Commissioner for Matters Related to Ethnic German Resettlers and National Minorities, Prof. Dr. Bernd Fabritius. In the meeting, the Federal Commissioner expressly agreed with the results of the AGDM Future Workshop that the promotion of youth and language work would be the two most important tasks in the near future. He encouraged the participants to develop innovative concepts. In the language work, it was necessary to work out the special characteristics of German as a minority mother tongue even more strongly, as there were significant differences to the language teaching concepts of German as a foreign language. With regard to youth work, Fabritius called on the organisations to integrate young people at an early stage into the work of the association in responsible positions in order to guarantee the continuity of the association's work.

The Commissioner was also present at AGDM talks with the group "Expellees, Resettlers, German Minorities" of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag and the subsequent talks with the group leader at the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Maria Bering, in the Bundestag and at the Federal Foreign Office with the coordinator for foreign cultural policy, Heidrun Tempel.The ambassador of Romania, Emil Hurezeanu, continued the good tradition of a visit of the AGDM to the embassy of the home country of a German minority which had developed in the past years and invited the participants of the AGDM annual conference to a reception in the embassy.

During the annual conference on 7 November in the Collegium Hungaricum - the Hungarian Cultural Institute in Berlin, the project "Future Strategy of German Minorities" and the report "Strengthened into the Future - Recommendations for Action for the AGDM" by Marco Just Quiles were presented. The Chairman of the Council of the Foundation "Connectedness with Germans Abroad", Mr. Hartmut Koschyk, former Parliamentary State Secretary and former Federal Commissioner, spoke the greeting at the event. This was followed by thematic speeches by Marco Just Quiles, who had supervised the project scientifically, and Bernard Gaida, spokesman for AGDM. Among the guests were Margarete Ziegler-Raschdorf, Hessian Commissioner for Integration, Halit Habip Oglou and Olga Martens, Vice-Presidents of FUEN, Urban Beckmann, Head of the Dialogue Department of the Institute for Foreign Relations (IfA), Karoline Gil, Head of the Media and Integration Department of the Institute for Foreign Relations (IfA), and Dr. Alexander Schumacher, Head of Unit AM3 at the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI).

Another highlight of the AGDM annual conference was the participation in the ceremony on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the office of the Federal Government Commissioner for Matters Related to Ethnic German Resettlers and National Minorities on 7 November 2018 in the Französische Friedrichstadtkirche in Berlin. During the ceremony, the German minorities were also able to express their gratitude and recognition for this commission by an address given by AGDM spokesman Bernard Gaida.

The AGDM conference was also accompanied by FUEN President Loránt Vincze. He emphasized the good work of AGDM. During the meeting Mr. Vincze informed about the future of the successful European citizens' initiative "Minority SafePack (MSPI)".

"We are very pleased that we were given the opportunity to address a whole range of topics that are important for the future of German minorities with a number of members of the Bundestag, Mrs. Maria Bering, Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, and Mrs. Heidrun Tempel from the Federal Foreign Office. Our visit and the reception at the Romanian Embassy was also of great importance, as it enabled us to show solidarity with our compatriots who are exposed to a smear campaign in Romania. No less important to us were the opportunities that the conference brought us, namely the meeting among us, the Germans from abroad, the exchange of experiences and the experience of the community," Bernard Gaida emphasized, Spokesman of the AGDM.

During the internal meeting, the participating associations spoke and discussed the situation of German minorities and the focal points of their activities. The discussions focused on future transnational cooperation, long-term strategic cooperation with the Federal Government and intermediary organisations, and the services provided by minorities in their home countries.


Key Topics

  • Political Participation
  • Fundamental Rights
  • Linguistic Diversity
  • Solidarity with the Roma
  • European Citizens' Initiative
  • European Network
  • Forum of the European Minorities / House of Minorities

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