FUEN Congress: 60 million autochtonous national minorities, one goal

- Press releases

The FUEN Congress has started in Cluj-Napoca/Kolozsvár/Klausenburg, Romania, and for the upcoming days the capital city of Transylvania, Erdély, Siebenbürgen will also be the capital city of minorities. The highlight of the event will be the launch of the petition on Friday to support the Minority SafePack Initiative. "We launch an appeal to the European minority communities, member states, the regions, the European institutions, the political families, governments and parliaments to become friends of the Minority SafePack Initiative. We need partners in convincing the European citizens and the EU Institutions, that cultural and linguistic diversity should not only be a nice slogan. Instead, it should mean action, funds, policies, monitoring and control mechanisms” – stated FUEN president Vincze Loránt during the opening speech of the event.

President of the RMDSZ Kelemen Hunor addressed the participants of the 62nd FUEN Congress saying: “Romanian diplomacy likes to stress that the issues of minorities in Romania have been addressed and solved in an exemplary manner, and that everything is fine.  We would like you to hear that things are far from being fine. None of the representatives of the Romanian state have accepted our invitation to join us here today. The president of Romania has not addressed a message to the participants of the FUEN Congress, and neither did the Romanian Government, or foreign affairs ministry. This does not mean they think we are unimportant. In fact, we can feel their attention upon us every day, we can feel them breathing down our necks.  The Romanian diplomacy has done everything within their power to diminish the relevancy of this event.“

"We are not recognized as a national minority. Maybe this is, in part, our mistake. Yet we do indeed exist.  When we make mistakes, they are minor ones, but when the state makes mistakes they are major ones.  And those are the mistakes we need to find an answer to, on a European level” – pointed out Constantin Damov, leader of the Arman community, President of the Fara Arman.

“Ever since the accession to the European Union, Romania has not adhered to the promises made on an international level. We are punished and humiliated when we use our symbols, and in the 27 years that passed since the fall of the dictatorship, not even a third of the properties confiscated by the communist regime have been returned to us, to Hungarians, the rightful owners” – stated the president of the Hungarian Civic Party of Romania, Bíró Zsolt.

"Many cultures and linguistic minorities live together in the former Great Principality of Siebenbürgen. The preservation of our culture, our mother tongue is key to us, and it is key to so many fellow citizens whose culture is different to ours, and who speak a different language than us.  Minority communities bring diversity, and enrich our community, and our country" – stated Radu Nebert, Cluj county president of the Democratic Forum of the Germans in Romania (DFDR).

Secretary of State, head of the Department for Interethnic Relations,  Amet Aledin greeted the participants of the Congress and expressed hope that they will have the chance to get to know the different minorities better, and that they will be able to see their situation objectively.  He said he hopes that by the end of this event we will be able to assess how far along things really are in Europe regarding this matter. The secretary of state stated that minorities are represented in the parliament of Romania, and thus, funds are allocated each year to support their cultural events. „Unfortunately we cannot say the same for every Member State of the European Union” – he added, and stressed the importance of open dialogue.

Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary, Semjén Zsolt sent a message to greet the participants of the 62nd FUEN Congress: “The Hungarian Community in Romania faces several unsolved issues, and it seeks the means and mechanisms to ensure a constant communication with the majority community. It seeks a way to make the Romanian state understand that the Hungarian community makes Romania richer, and is by no means a threat, as some state. The time has come for a European level solution for the issues of national minorities.”

State Secretary for Hungarians Abroad Potápi Árpád addressed the congress on behalf of the Government of Hungary. He spoke about the multilingual signs posted at the entrance of the host city, Cluj-Napoca, Kolozsvár, Klausenbur saying he welcomes the decision of the local authority to finally post the signs, though this decision was only taken after lengthy court proceedings.

“Cultural diversity is part of our culture. 60 million European citizens belong to a minority community, and thus, it is not a farfetched expectation that the EU not only preach diversity in a slogan, but that it should adopt a Union level legislative framework for the protection of minority cultures“ – pointed out Potápi Árpád.

The European Charter of Regional or Minority Languages is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Therefore, Germany will organize a debate on all regional and minority languages that exist on its territory in order to encourage a positive public perception of the issue. The support of important organizations such as the FUEN is crucial for the minorities, which is why the German Bundestag has provided financial support for the FUEN for the next year " – said the minority commissioner of the German Parliament, Hartmut Koschyk in a video message addressed to the participants of the FUEN Congress. "There are 400 minorities in Europe, every 7th European citizen speaks a language that is different from that of the majority community in their respective state. The Minority SafePack Initiative is very important for the development of our minorities" – stated Arno Kompatcher, Governor of South Tyrol in a video message addressed to the participants of the FUEN Congress.

In a video message sent to the FUEN Congress Minister President of Ostbelgien, Oliver Paasch has assured the participants of the 62nd FUEN Congress of his full support of the MSI. "The German-speaking community in East Belgium and all of Belgium will support the Minority SafePack initiative" – he said.
"The Minority SafePack Initiative will open a whole new chapter for minorities in Europe. Nothing can stop us now! I hope and believe that we will collect much much more than 1 million signatures for the MSP ", said the minority commissioner of Schleswig-Holstein, Renate Schnack in a video message addressed to the participants of the FUEN Congress.

Szili Katalin, Special Commissioner of the Hungarian Prime Minister for autonomy spoke about the Minority SafePack Initiative: „FUEN is the conscience of Europe when it comes to national minorities. People who have lived and died in the same country for generations, people who fight to preserve their culture need to be provided with the proper tools to do so. We can only have true democracy if minority rights are protected.”

Kalmár Ferenc, author of the so called Kalmar report in the Council of Europe on the situation and rights of national minorities in Europe is today Special Commissioner of the Trade and Foreign Affairs Ministry for Neighbourhood Policies. Kalmár stated: „ The role of the FUEN in Europe is increasingly important, and the FUEN needs to play a role on a national level as well, speaking up for minorities, for diversity. The Minority SafePack must succeed. The rights of 60 million people depend on it. Minority issues cannot be left in the hands of majority communities.”

The Federal Union of European Nationalities is the largest umbrella organization representing 100 million European citizens belonging to a national minority. The 62nd Congress of the FUEN is taking place on the 17-21 of May at Grand Hotel Napoca in Cluj-Napoca, Kolozsvár, Klausenburg. Representatives of 50 member organizations, over 300 delegates and guests are attending the event covered by over 50 journalists. The Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania, the RMDSZ is the host of the event.

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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