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Parliamentary questions
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7 November 2019
Answer given by Ms Jourová on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-002608/2019

Respect for 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.

The EU is already equipped with specific instruments(1) to ensure that, within the remit of its competences, discrimination against minorities based on specific grounds such as ethnicity or race, is prohibited.

Beyond the existing European legislation on combatting discrimination, racism and xenophobia, the EU’s competence is limited in respect to minorities, in particular as regards issues concerning the recognition of the status of minorities, their eventual autonomy or the regime governing the use of regional or minority languages.

In these cases, Member States retain general powers to take decisions, as according to Article 51(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the provisions of the Charter are only addressed to the Member States 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, if any.

The current Commission is not in a position to comment or answer questions related to the organisation and attribution of responsibilities of the next Commission. The Honourable Member is invited to address those questions to the next Commission once it takes office.

(1)The Employment Equality Directive, the Racial Equality Directive and the framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia aim specifically at combating several forms of intolerance. Moreover, the Commission has set up in place other policy instruments, such as the list of actions to advance LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) equality or the EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies.

Last updated: 7 November 2019Legal notice