Motion for a resolution - B9-0405/2020Motion for a resolution
B9-0405/2020

    MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the European Citizens’ Initiative ‘Minority SafePack  one million signatures for diversity in Europe’

    9.12.2020 - (2020/2846(RSP))

    pursuant to Rule 222(8) of the Rules of Procedure

    Nicola Procaccini, Dace Melbārde, Kosma Złotowski, Elżbieta Kruk
    on behalf of the ECR Group

    Procedure : 2020/2846(RSP)
    Document stages in plenary
    Document selected :  
    B9-0405/2020
    Texts tabled :
    B9-0405/2020
    Texts adopted :

    B9‑0405/2020

    European Parliament resolution on the European Citizens’ Initiative ‘Minority SafePack one million signatures for diversity in Europe’

    (2020/2846(RSP))

    The European Parliament,

     having regard to the European Citizens’ Initiative ‘Minority SafePack – one million signatures for diversity in Europe’(ECI(2020)000004),

     having regard to the Treaty on European Union (TEU), and in particular, Articles 2, 3(3) and 11(4) thereof,

     having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), and in particular Articles 19, 24, 53(1), 63, 79(2), 107(3)(e), 108(4), 109, 118, 165(4), 167(5), 173(3), 177, 178 and 182(1) thereof,

     having regard to Regulation (EU) 2019/788 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2019 on the European Citizens’ Initiative,

     having regard to Articles 10, 21, 22 and 51 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

     having regard to Article 27 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1966,

     having regard to the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages,

     having regard to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) 1990 Copenhagen Document and to the numerous thematic recommendations and guidelines on minority rights issued by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights,

     having regard to the rulings and case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), in particular case T-646/13 (Minority SafePack one million signatures for diversity in Europe v Commission), and case T-391/17,

     having regard to Commission Decision (EU) 2017/652 of 29 March 2017 on the proposed citizens’ initiative entitled ‘Minority SafePack one million signatures for diversity in Europe’,

     having regard to the public hearing on the Minority SafePack European Citizens’ Initiative organised on 15 October 2020 by the Committee on Culture and Education, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the Committee on Petitions,

     having regard to the proposals in this European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) on the legislative acts expected from the European Commission based on the ECI, presented to the European Commission after the submission of the signatures, and presented at the European Parliament during the public hearing,

     having regard to Rule 222(8) of its Rules of Procedure,

    A. whereas pursuant to Article 2 of the TEU, the Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities;

    B. whereas Article 3(3) of the TEU states that the Union’s aims include economic, social and territorial cohesion, and solidarity among Member States, as well as the respect of its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and ensuring that Europe’s cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced;

    C. whereas Article 21(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union states that any discrimination based on any ground, including language and membership of a national minority, shall be prohibited;

    D. whereas Article 22 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union states that the Union shall respect cultural and linguistic diversity;

    E. whereas respect for cultural diversity is enshrined in Article 167 of the TFEU;

    F. whereas approximately 8 % of EU citizens belong to a national minority, and approximately 10 % speak a regional or minority language; whereas they represent an essential part of the cultural wealth of the Union through their unique languages and cultures;

    G. whereas the general concept of minorities in Europe is covered by a wide range of terms in legal and academic language; whereas, in order to bypass the difficulty of using the variety of terms used across Europe, the Council of Europe in its Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities, which still represents the highest international standard for minority protection in Europe, uses the term ‘national minority’;

    H. whereas many national and linguistic minorities face an accelerating trend of assimilation and language loss, which can translate into diminished linguistic and cultural pluralism within the EU;

    I. whereas the Minority SafePack European Citizens’ Initiative (the initiative) was submitted to the European Commission on 15 July 2013, calling for EU action to support national and linguistic minorities by implementing 11 proposals;

    J. whereas on 13 September 2013 the same ECI was started, but the European Commission did not find it sufficiently substantiated to register; whereas the organisers of the initiative lodged an appeal at the CJEU, and on 3 February 2017 the Court delivered its judgement annulling the Commission’s decision not to register the initiative;

    K. whereas in order to take the necessary measures to comply with the judgement of the General Court, the European Commission reviewed the legal admissibility of the initiative and decided[1] on 29 March 2017 to register the initiative on the basis of nine of its initial 11 proposals;

    L. whereas in line with Article 15 of the ECI Regulation, the Commission’s legal admissibility check is followed by an examination of the substance of the ECI after the successful collection of signatures; whereas the Commission sets out its legal and political conclusions on the initiative on the basis of the EU Treaties;

    M. whereas between 3 April 2017 and 3 April 2018 1 128 385 certified signatures were collected in the EU, and the minimum national threshold was reached in 11 Member States;

    N. whereas the ECI is the first instrument for transnational participatory democracy in the world, enabling citizens to engage directly with the EU institutions;

    O. whereas the Minority SafePack is the fifth successful ECI out of a total of six;

    P. whereas according to Article 14 of Regulation (EU) 2019/788, following the organisation of a public hearing, Parliament shall assess the political support for individual ECIs; whereas in compliance with Rule 222 of its Rules of Procedure, Parliament held a public hearing on 15 October 2020.;

    1. Reiterates its support for the ECI as an instrument, and calls for the full use of its potential; highlights that the ECI is an opportunity for citizens to identify and articulate their aspirations;

    2. Points out that with the new Regulation on the ECI coming into force on 1 January 2020, it is important to facilitate the relaunch of this instrument for participation in the EU’s democratic and political life;

    3. Recalls that respect for persons belonging to minorities is a founding value of the EU, together with democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, as set out in Article 2 of the TEU;

    4. Recalls that Article 3(3) of the TEU provides that the Union shall respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and shall ensure that Europe’s cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced; stresses that minority languages and cultures are a part of the Union’s culture and heritage; underlines that the Union may encourage actions by Member States to ensure the protection of minority rights;

    5. Calls on the Commission to present an impact assessment of policy options for a possible common framework of EU minimum standards for the protection of the rights of persons belonging to minorities, in line with the principle of subsidiarity, and taking into account national competences;

    6. Believes that linguistic rights must be respected in communities where there is more than one official language, without limiting the rights of one over another, in line with the constitutional order of each Member State; believes that the promotion of regional languages or the protection of language communities must not lead to discrimination;

    7. Calls for a mutually reinforcing cooperation between the European Union and the Council of Europe on the protection of the rights of national and linguistic minorities; points out that this cooperation would allow the European Union to build on the achievements and experience of the Council of Europe, and for the Council of Europe to achieve more effective implementation of its recommendations related to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages;

    The Nine ECI Proposals

    8. Acknowledges that the protection of national and linguistic minorities is the primary responsibility of the Member States; points out, however, that the European Union may play a role in supporting Member States in this endeavour; points out that a number of Member States are successful examples of respectful and harmonious coexistence between different communities;

    9. Is of the opinion that cultural and linguistic identity preservation measures that seek to benefit national and linguistic minority communities must aim for positive action, including in the area of culture;

    10. Recognises the contribution of ethnic and linguistic minorities to the EU’s cultural heritage, and highlights the role of media in this regard;

    11. Points out that linguistic diversity is a valuable component of Europe’s cultural wealth, and should be protected so as to ensure that regional or minority languages can be passed on from one generation to the next; expresses its concern about regional or minority languages that are at risk of becoming extinct;

    12. Calls on the European Union and the Member States to take into account national or linguistic minorities when designing funding programmes; considers that the protection of multilingualism and cultural diversity is a motor for regional development and innovation;

    13. Believes that every EU citizen should be able to enjoy culture and entertainment in their own language; calls on the Commission, therefore, to carry out an assessment and take the most appropriate measures to allow this, while taking due account of national language laws; notes that, since the submission of the initiative to the European Commission in 2013, essential proposals related to copyright and audio-visual media have been already adopted by the co-legislators;

    14. Expresses its support for the Minority SafePack European Citizens’ Initiative; points out that the initiative registered by the Commission calls for legislative proposals in nine distinct areas, and recalls that the initiative expects each individual proposal to be verified and assessed on its own merit, taking into account the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality;

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    15. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

    Last updated: 10 December 2020
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