Deeply Rooted in the Regions – FUEN conference starts on Thursday in Brussels

- Press releases

The Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN) organises a two-day conference in Brussels, between the 30th of November and December the 1st, on minority communities and language groups in the EU Regions. The event will be hosted by the Committee of the Regions.

For several years, FUEN has been aiming to create a forum for minority regions and minority-friendly regions. The event entitled Deeply Rooted in the Region is a launching conference for this forum. The conference primarily aims to draw the attention of the Union to the minority aspects of the European regions, talk about the importance of regionalism in minority advocacy and participation, promote and develop the cooperation among minority regions and thus create bi- and multilateral partnerships (especially in the border regions). The conference will allow the presentation of case studies on language use, cultural and economic development, autonomy, majority within the minority (regional minorities), equality of chances, and opportunities for interregional cooperation.

The autochthonous minorities of Europe live in well-defined areas, in regions with particular historical, linguistic and cultural aspects. This level of government is critical to the development of the ethnic identity of these communities, the protection of minority languages and cultures, the existence and functioning of their own institutions, as well as the good relations  between the majority and the minority communities. Different regions have different relationships with ethnic communities living in their territory. That is why it is particularly important to promote regional relations, cooperation and share good practices in the field of minority protection. The dimension of interethnic relations perfectly adds up to the existent economic and infrastructural collaboration between regions.

Based on the long-lasting partnerships between the FUEN and many regions and autonomous areas such as Schleswig-Holstein, Saxony, Brandenburg, South Tyrol, the German-speaking community in Belgium, Carinthia, but also regions from Spain and France, from the Western Balkan states as well as those from Central Eastern Europe: Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Poland, and Ukraine valuable experiences in this matter should be shared.

The role of the minority regions might have never been as important as it is now when the petition campaign for the most significant project of FUEN, the Minority SafePack European Citizens' Initiative (MSPI) is ongoing. One of the main goals of the MSPI is to amend the regional cohesion policy of the EU in such a way that regional funding programmes consider the minority factor of certain regions, promoting diversity of languages and cultures.

The conference will be opened by Mr. Loránt VINCZE, President of FUEN. Mr Herwig VAN STAA, President of Land Tirol (Austria), Mr Oliver PAASCH, Minister President of the German Community in Belgium, President of the Association of European Border Regions, Mr Peter KAISER, Member of CoR, Governor of Carinthia (Austria) will contribute to the event. The conference will be concluded by Mr Karl-Heinz LAMBERTZ, Member of the Citizens Committee for the Minority SafePack Initiative, President of the European Committee of the Regions.

 

The event is organised with the cooperation of the Committee of the Regions in Brussels as the main body which provides sub-national authorities with a direct voice within the EU's institutional framework. The FUEN project is supported by the Federal Ministry of the Interior in Germany.

 

The schedule of the conference:

 

Thursday, 30 November 2017 (Committee of the Regions, Room JDE 52)

 

15:00 – 15:10 - Welcome address: Mr Loránt VINCZE, President of the Federal Union of European Nationalities - FUEN

 

15:10 – 16:30 - 1st Panel Discussion: Added value – the contribution of minority communities to social and economic development in the European Union

Keynote: Ms Anna MAGYAR, Vice-President, County Council of Csongrád (Hungary), Moderator: Mr Johan HÄGGMAN, Expert in Multilingualism, Panellists: Mr Mikel Irujo AMEZAGA, Member of CoR, Navarra Region (Spain); Mr Csaba BORBOLY, Member of CoR, President, Harghita County Council (Romania); Mr Jens A. CHRISTIANSEN, Chair of the European Dialogue Forum in the FUEN (Danish community in Germany); Dr Davide ZAFFI, Board Member of the Society for the Enhancement of National Communities in Europe (SENCE)

 

16:45 – 18:00 - Discussion of minority- and minority-friendly regions

Introductory remarks: Mr Csaba SÓGOR, Member of the European Parliament (Romania), Moderator: Mr Loránt VINCZE, FUEN President, Contribution of participants from: Brandenburg, Burgenland, Carinthia, Nordschleswig-Region, Ostbelgien, Schleswig-Holstein, South Tyrol, Transylvania, South Slovakia, Opole Voivodeship, Hungary, etc.

 

Friday, 1 December 2017 (Committee of the Regions, Room JDE 63)


10:00 – 11:15 - 2nd Panel Discussion: Anchored in the homeland – regional identities to strengthen territorial cohesion and to protect cultural and linguistic heritage

Keynote: Mr Herwig VAN STAA, Member of CoR, President of Land Tirol (Austria), Moderator: Mr Dieter Paul KÜSSNER, Vice President of FUEN (Danish community in Germany), Panellists: Mr Oliver PAASCH, Minister President of the German Community in Belgium, President of the Association of European Border Regions; Mr Peter KAISER, Member of CoR, Governor of Carinthia (Austria); Mr Johannes CALLSEN, Minority Commissioner of Land Schleswig-Holstein (Germany); Mr Roman KOLEK, Vice-Marshall, Voivodship of Opole (Poland)

 

11:30 – 12:30 - 3rd Panel Discussion: Updating priorities – the role of minority communities and language groups in demographic change, shaping regional policies and cross-border cooperation

Moderator: Mr Johan HÄGGMAN, Expert in Multilingualism, Panellists: Dr Aleksandra PIVEC, Deputy Minister for Slovenian Minorities and Slovenians abroad, Republic of Slovenia; Mr Iuliu WINKLER, Member of the European Parliament (Romania); Mr David STATNIK, President of Domowina (Sorb minority in Germany); Dr Tove H. MALLOY, Director of the European Centre for Minority Issues – ECMI

 

12:30 – 13:00 - Concluding remarks: Mr Karl-Heinz LAMBERTZ, Member of the Citizens Committee for the Minority SafePack Initiative, President of the European Committee of the Regions


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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