European Parties' Answers to FUEN Checkstones

- Press releases

Before the European elections, the Federal Union of European Nationalities has invited political parties and their candidates to find solutions to the concerns of autochthonous European minorities at European level and at the same time to draw attention to their situation.
The FUEN's election checkstones that have been sent out present the main objectives of the umbrella organisation of autochthonous national minorities and language groups, such as the Minority SafePack Initiative, the political representation of minorities in the EU and the Pact between minority and majority. Candidates were asked whether they were willing to actively support these issues.
Explicitly, the checkstones were sent to parties and their candidates in the following member states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

The FUEN is very pleased with the many responses received from the various European countries. In total, we received replies from 11 German parties, three from Austria, two from Denmark and one each from Slovenia, Latvia, Greece and Luxembourg.

In Germany, 11 out of 13 parties responded to the election checkstones (after receiving the answers): Die Linke, Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen, Piratenpartei Deutschlands, Bernd Lucke und die Liberal-Konservativen Reformer, die Ökologisch-Demokratische Partei, Freie Wähler - Bundesvereinigung, CDU/CSU, AfD, SPD and FDP.

A detailed evaluation of the responses of the German parties has already been published by the Minorities Secretariat.

In Austria, the Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs (SPÖ)/Party of European Socialists, the NEOS - Das Neue Österreich und Liberales Forum (NEOS)/ Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party and the Österreichische Volkspartei (ÖVP)/ European People’s Party answered the questions and gave their opinion. It becomes clear that there is a consensus among the parties that minority rights should be protected and extended, not to mention the commitment to minorities at the pan-European level. The FUEN Pact between majority and minority is supported and would be signed by the parties.
Ottmar Karas, ÖVP's top candidate, points out that "the rights of national minorities and their protection are an integral part of the rule of law and human rights. These, in turn, are the DNA of modern Europe and the European Union and I will defend them resolutely at every opportunity".
The Minority SafePack Initiative of the FUEN has been similarly well recieved among the parties,  as the statement of the SPÖ shows: "Minority rights are human rights and they must be protected and enforced EU-wide". The opinion of Claudia Gamon of NEOS is no different as far as the initiative is concerned. "Europe'scultural and linguistic diversity is at the heart of our identity. "United in diversity" is not the Union's motto for nothing," says the top candidate.  The ÖVP candidate states in this context: "Once the Commission's proposals have been submitted, we in the European Parliament will do our utmost to implement them in terms of minority rights and the protection of minorities".
The willingness for support is also demonstrated by the proposals and recommendations for better political representation of national minorities in the European institutions. According to the SPÖ, "it would be good and sensible to bundle all minority issues in one EU Commissioner. This would create a binding and responsible European Commission".  Claudia Gamon of NEOS says the following about this: "In this respect I am more in favour of parties which run for the European parliamentary elections ensuring that they reflect the diversity of Europe and are open to all persons who are involved in the Party for Europe. To have diversity in one's own list is a strength and not a charity for minorities".

From Denmark we received two replies from the Socialist People's Party/ European Green Party and Alternative/ European Spring. Both parties gave us their opinions on our concerns, assured us of their support for the MSPI and would sign the pact.
When asked about support for the MSPI, Rasmus Nordqvist, candidate of the Alternativet (European Spring), states: "We are all part of our democracy - and I really believe in the idea of being united in diversity". He points out that his party is proposing the establishment of an independent supervisory body to ensure that the Copenhagen criteria and Article 2 are respected in all EU member states.
On the representation of minorities in the EU, Magarethe Auken, candidate of the Socialist People's Party, writes: "Representation is th ecrucial factor in democracy, and responsible representation of minorities within the EU institutions should also be of utmost importance".

In Slovenia Slovenska Demokratska Stranka (SDS) / European People's Party has responded to our checkstones. The party points out that it is already actively engaged in the protection of minorities at EU level and supports both the MSPI and the Pact.
On the political representation of minorities in the European institutions, it states: "In order to improve the integration of minorities into European decision-making processes, it would be useful to examine existing solutions at the national level, to analyse examples of good practice and to determine to what extent such solutions can be useful at the European level".

From Latvia we received an answer from Dr Juris Dzelme, European election candidate of the LSDSP Latvijas Sociāldemokrātiskā Strādniekupartija / Party of European Socialists. He also expressed his sympathy for our concerns and pledged his support. "I am ready to support the cultural and linguistic diversity of the members of indigenous national minorities, nationalities and ethnic communities". However, he states as a condition that "according to our constitution, Latvian is the only official language of Latvia".
Within the implementation of the MSPI, he would like to support the creation and modification of support programmes (e.g. Erasmus) so that the cultures and languages of indigenous and traditional communities have priority.

Theodoros Tsikas, candidate of To Potami / Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats from Greece, assured his support for minorities in all three concerns. He will support the MSPI in the European institutions. He also indicated that he would sign the Pact.

From Luxembourg, the party Déi gréng/European Green Party and its candidates for the EU elections send us an answer. They also assured us of their support in all of our three concerns.   
For a successful implementation of the MSPI in the EU, their supposal is to gain a broad majority by organising cross-party events to send a signal to the European Commission.
About the political representation of autochthonous minorities in EU institutions, they state: "We defend the values and achievements of a united Europe. This requires an inclusive society as part of a strong European community in which national minorities and ethnic minorities are protected and supported. We want to reflect this community in the European Parliament: Representatives* from Catalonia, Scotland and Wales, for example, already form a joint group with us Greens in the European Parliament".

In the coming months following the European parliamentary election, FUEN will continue to seek the endorsement of political parties and Members of European Parliament to support the implementation of our Minority SafePack Initiative at the European Union-level. We invite all political parties in a non-partisan manner to join us in our aim to create an EU Minority Rights Framework.


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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