- Need to tackle linguistic and cultural impoverishment
- EU support for diversity, minority languages and multilingualism
- Focus on education, culture, public services, EU funding and state aid
On Thursday, MEPs called on the Commission to act on the European Citizens’ Initiative proposals that aim to enhance cultural and linguistic diversity in the EU.
In a resolution adopted with 524 votes in favour, 67 against and 103 abstentions, Parliament points out that national and linguistic minorities in the EU are facing assimilation and are losing their languages, resulting in linguistic and cultural impoverishment. Parliament calls on the Commission to propose legal acts to address the issue, expressing its support for the European Citizens’ Initiative ‘Minority SafePack – one million signatures for diversity in Europe’.
Protect minority languages and multilingualism
Acknowledging that member states are responsible for protecting minorities’ rights, MEPs again ask for a common framework of minimum EU standards. They add that regional languages must be promoted, linguistic rights protected where more than one official language is in use, and language communities defended in accordance with fundamental rights.
Minority SafePack proposals
Although many EU countries are generally seen as successful examples of harmonious coexistence between different communities, the European Union must continue supporting national, regional and local efforts. Positive action is needed in education, culture and public services, and to address the threat of extinction for some minority languages. The ECI calls for a European language diversity centre to be created.
In addition, Parliament:
- expresses its concern about the alarming increase in hate crimes and hate speech against persons belonging to minority groups;
- suggests measures to help all cultural operators;
- points out that linguistic minorities are often lacking their own comprehensive system of media services and calls on the Commission to support their development;
- stresses that minority language concerns have to be taken into consideration in future media and content regulations, when adapting geoblocking and copyright rules; and
- points out that a large number of stateless people in the EU belong to national and linguistic minorities.
The European Commission must communicate its proposed actions regarding the Minority SafePack within six months, or provide reasons for refusing to do so. The ECI calls for legislative proposals in nine distinct areas and requests that each proposal be verified and assessed on its own merit.
The protection of persons belonging to minority groups is a founding value of the EU, and the Treaty (Art.3(3)) states there is an obligation to safeguard and enhance Europe’s cultural heritage. Parliament is calling on the Commission to act in line with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.
European Citizens’ Initiatives are a democratic participation instrument. If more than one million citizens from at least seven member states support an initiative, the European Commission must take action. In a recent joint public hearing, which was held remotely, the organisers of Minority SafePack presented their objectives.