- Press releases
On 10 February, the Research Institute for Hungarian Communities Abroad (NPKI) in Budapest organized a panel discussion entitled Closer to the goal – EU minority policy after the Luxemburg trial. FUEN President Loránt Vincze was the guest of the event together with lawyers and experts
In his introductory words, the Secretary of state for national policy of the Hungarian Government, Mr Árpád János Potápi praised the FUEN for its contribution in shaping the public opinion and the position of the nation-states and the international community regarding the issues of national minorities. “FUEN’s victory is more than just a minority cause – the citizens’ initiative strengthens the European democracy and puts the fate of Europe into the hands of its citizens.” According to Mr Potápi the ruling of the Court also proves that hard work eventually pays off and so will the issues of national minorities be solved one day.
After a short introduction, the FUEN President informed the numerous participants and Hungarian press about the recent ruling of the European Court of Justice regarding the Minority SafePack European Citizen’s Initiative. According to him, it is certainly a victory but this is only one phase of the long road ahead of the autochthonous minorities of Europe. “The ultimate goal is the creation of a European minority protection legal framework and our initiative is part of this journey” – he added.
Mr Loránt Vincze also stressed the importance of this unprecedented decision, as it is the first case when the Court ruled in favour of the initiators, thus saying that initiatives may not be refused just because of their minority-focused content. “We have also won in the name of all those who had many initiatives refused in the last years, just think of the memorable cases of the Slovakian language law, the restitution process in Romania, and claims regarding the use of mother tongue from all over Europe, all ignored so far by the Union claiming that it falls outside its competence” – explained the President of the FUEN.
Mr Vincze presented the more or less probable scenarios of the case, hoping that none will appeal the judgment. The European Commission’s decision has been annulled and in FUEN’s legal opinion, it must make a new, more elaborate one. The new decision may be positive or negative but the Commission cannot avoid a dialogue with the initiators. “In case of acceptance, we may start collecting signatures and this would be the number one priority of the FUEN. An intensive year may come” – said Mr Vincze who thanked Hungary for its political and legal support.
The discussion was moderated by NPKI-Director Zoltán Kántor. Mr Miklós Zoltán Fehér, who represented the Hungarian Ministry of Justice at the hearing in September in Luxembourg, and Mr Péter Varga from the State Department for National Policy presented the European Citizens’ Initiative in general and the legal aspects of the case.