Green light for the Minority SafePack Initiative

- Press releases

Today, the European Commission took the decision to register the Minority SafePack Initiative – the European citizens’ initiative for the minorities in Europe.  The Commission’s initial decision from 2013 to deny registration of the initiative was annulled by the General Court of the European Union in the beginning of February this year.

FUEN President Loránt Vincze welcomes the new decision: “The Minority SafePack Initiative opens a new and unique opportunity to promote minority rights in the European Union.” For the European minorities it is paramount to gather the support of as many European citizens as possible. President Vincze: “We will have a whole year to draw the European public attention to the situation of approximately sixty million citizens who are members of a national minority and/or who speak a regional or minority language. We wish to convince Europeans to support us with their signature in our efforts to strengthen the protection of European cultural and linguistic heritage.

FUEN and the European Citizens’ Committee for the Minority SafePack Initiative, consisting of seven high-ranking personalities representing the minorities in Europe, are pleased with the registration of their initiative, more than three and a half year after they submitted a request for registration of the initiative. Hans Heinrich Hansen, representative of the citizens’ committee underlined that the citizens’ committee that he chairs made the right decision back in 2013 to challenge the Commission’s rejection in court. Hansen: “it pays out to persevere and not yield if you are convinced of your cause. Today’s decision opens the door to more minority protection and cultural and linguistic diversity in the European Union. Moreover, it is a decision that is not only important for the minorities, but for all European citizens, since it makes it easier to register new citizens’ initiatives. The European Commission eases the conditions to start an initiative. A major hurdle has been removed now for everyone who wants to use the instrument of the European Citizens’ Initiative in the European Union.”

The European Commission decided to change its policy after it was defeated in court last February: the registration of the Minority SafePack is a partial registration. “This means that in the view of the European Commission, it could legislate the vast majority of the measures that the European minorities proposed as part of the Minority SafePack Initiative. However, the European Commission also stated that it is of the opinion that out of the eleven sub-proposals, it does not have the power to legislate for two of these proposed acts. We disagree with their assessment on these two elements and want to convince the European institutions that they are still worth considering, but first of all we are glad that we now can continue with the initiative”, said Frank de Boer, FUEN legal advisor and one of the authors of the Minority SafePack Initiative.

“The partial registration does not mean that we renounce the remaining two proposals”, said FUEN President Vincze. “We can proudly present the partial package to the European general public. The EU could adopt more than nine different EU legal acts from the Minority SafePack Initiative after a successful campaign. That is more than what has been achieved in regard to minority rights protection inside the EU since the signing of the Rome Treaty sixty years ago.”

The aim of the European Citizens’ Initiative is not just about the collection of signatures, but even more its goal is the creation of a Europe-wide debate on an important subject for the European Union as a whole. President Vincze: “Our aim is not just the collection of one million signatures; we also want to set off a debate in the European public space. We will not limit ourselves to collecting signatures from seven member states; we wish to present our initiative in as many European regions as possible.”

With the registration now done, the coming month will be used to get everything in place so that we can soon start with the collection campaign. On 3 May, there will be a hearing in the European Parliament where the Minority SafePack Initiative will be presented and debates with representatives of the minorities, politicians, experts and the media. The citizens’ initiative will also be the highlight of the FUEN Congress that will take place from 17-21 May 2017 in Cluj-Napoca/Kolozsvár/Klausenburg.

Links:

Press release from the European Commission

Minority SafePack Initiative

Flyer Minority SafePack Initiative

FUEN website: European Citizens’ Initiative

 

 


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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