What is the EU’s legal framework to protect national and linguistic minorities?
Diversity is at the heart of the European Union. Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union states that 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. Article 3 further states that the Union shall respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and shall ensure that Europe’s cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced.
A legal framework is in place to ensure that the rights of persons belonging to minorities are upheld. This includes the Charter of Fundamental Rights as well as specific initiatives prohibiting discrimination such as the Council Framework Decision on Combating Racism and Xenophobia.
This general framework is supported by dedicated policy frameworks and the von der Leyen Commission has been committed to take it forward as part of a Union of Equality. This includes, for example, the EU Anti-Racism Action Plan, the Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025, the LGBTIQ Strategy 2020-25 and the EU Roma Strategic Framework for Equality, Inclusion and Participation.
While rights of persons belonging to minorities is one of the values on which the Union is founded, the EU has no general legislative competence specifically on the protection of national minorities.
What is the objective of the ‘Minority Safepack Initiative’?
The Minority SafePack – one million signatures for diversity in Europe (‘Minority SafePack Initiative’) is the fifth successful Initiative supported by over 1 million citizens across the EU. The Initiative aims to improve the protection of persons belonging to national and linguistic minorities and strengthen cultural and linguistic diversity in the Union. It calls upon the EU to adopt a set of legal acts to improve the protection of persons belonging to national and linguistic minorities and strengthen cultural and linguistic diversity in the Union. More specifically, the Minority SafePack Initiative outlines 9 specific proposals.
What is the Commission’s reply to the ‘Minority Safepack Initiative’?
The Commission carefully assessed the proposals made by the organisers. Since 2013, when the Initiative was first submitted for registration, a number of measures have been taken to improve the situation of minorities in the Union. The Commission’s reply sets out how established and recent legislation supports the goals of the nine proposals in the Initiative. While no further legislative acts are proposed, the Commission considers that follow-up can be made in a number of areas.
What are the follow-up actions?
The European Commission is committed to continue providing policy support and funding for inclusion and respect for the rich cultural diversity of Europe, which is one of the priorities and objectives of the Commission.
The Commission will ensure effective implementation on all these aspects and stands ready to assist Member States where relevant and needed. The Commission will also in due course review the effectiveness of the recent legislative measures, and consider additional follow-up where appropriate.
Source: Q&A: European Citizens’ Initiative (europa.eu)
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