Minority SafePack in Catalunya: all European languages should be equal!

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"According to the European Union minority and language related issues are an exclusive competence of the Member States, and thus they are allowed to do whatever they see fit regarding these issues. The European Union’s slogan, 'United in diversity', appealing as it may sound, is but a sum of words void of any true meaning until tangible measures are taken in order to protect regional and minority languages. This is why we have started the Minority SafePack Initiative: we want the EU to protect and promote regional and minority languages and cultures" – said Loránt Vincze, President of the Federal Union of European Nationalities. The leader of the largest umbrella organization of minorities in Europe attended a conference on language diversity in Europe, on Tuesday, the 6th of February in Barcelona. The event took place at the University of Barcelona and was organized by the FUEN, ANC, Plataforma per la Llengua, GELA and Vilaweb.

Loránt Vincze presented their European Citizens’ Initiative which wants the EU to share competences with the Member States in issues regarding the protection of minorities and language groups, such as linguistic rights, education, access to public services, regional funds or media.

“One of the goals of Catalonia would be to make Catalan an official EU language, and for the Catalonian language to achieve full rights as a European language. We believe that all historical languages of Europe should be equal, and that they all deserve protection, not just the ones that are official languages of the EU. Our initiative is meant to be a project of solidarity, to share these language related claims” – the President of the FUEN said.

He told the audience that the initiative needs 1,000,000 signatures and at least 7 different EU Member States have to reach their national threshold before the 2nd of April. They are now at 600,000 and still need at least 400,000 signatures. FUEN believes that with the help of the strong Catalan organizations they will reach Spain’s national threshold of 40,500 signatures.

The petition can be signed at www.minority-safepack.eu. The website is available in Catalan, but the form itself can only be signed in Spanish, as the European Commission accepts only the forms of the official EU languages. That is what we want to change! – concluded Loránt Vincze.

Linguist Emili Boix reminded the audience that although 60 years have passed since the Treaty of Rome, we still know so little of Europe, outside the euro, Erasmus and a few other things. “Mediocre Europe is as gray as Brussels' skies: it turns a blind eye on dying refugees, xenophobia in the East, or the repression in Catalonia these last few months”, Professor Boix said, adding that the Minority SafePack Initiative aims to change that as it makes the citizen’s voices heard.

Boix criticized the European states that are reluctant to sign, ratify and apply the Charter of Regional and Minority Languages.

“Everybody agrees that languages are a treasure, but unfortunately the states see languages through political glasses, through their interests and borders. Europe presents itself to the world as a champion of democracy and human rights, but it seems to have failed to play this role in Europe itself” – said journalist Vicent Partal.

“Europe has a democratic deficit. Elected politicians in states can't do politics because of Brussels, and in its turn, the plethora of unelected bureaucrats in Brussels are doing politics without being held accountable. This situation creates frustration with the people”, the director of Vilaweb added, considering that the Minority SafePack is a good initiative for a more respectful, just and democratic Europe.

During his stay in Barcelona FUEN President Loránt Vincze had meetings with Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, Assemblea Nacional de Catalunya and Candidatur d’Unitat Popular and took part in Platafroma per la Llengua’s Martí Gasull Awards.


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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