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Parliamentary questions
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6 December 2018
Answer given by Ms Jourová on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-002788/2018

The respect of the rights of persons belonging to minorities is one of the founding values of the European Union and is a principle explicitly mentioned in the Treaty on European Union. Moreover, any discrimination on the basis of membership of a national minority is explicitly prohibited under Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

The Commission ensures that fundamental rights and, in particular, the right to non-discrimination, are respected when EC law is implemented.

However, the Commission has no general power to act as regards minorities, in particular over issues relating to the recognition of the status of minorities, their self-determination and autonomy or the regime governing the use of regional or minority languages.

On these issues, Member States retain general powers to take decisions about minorities, as, according to Article 51(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the provisions of the Charter are addressed to the Member States only when they are implementing EC law.

It is thus for Member States to ensure compliance with their constitutional order and their obligations under international law and to use all legal instruments available to them to guarantee that fundamental rights of national minorities living on their territories are complied with.

Last updated: 6 December 2018Legal notice