Unió Europea i el Món

Minorities make Europe richer!

Why is Catalan language not recognizaed in the EU and what can we do about it?

Loránt Vincze
Loránt Vincze
There are over 90 traditional languages spoken in Europe, but the EU only protects the 24 official languages of the Member States. While cultural and linguistic diversity is considered a core value of the EU, Brussels has a narrow-minded approach to it. The “United in diversity” motto means only the diversity of the official languages, protection of the majority culture and the majority’s language. All other historically European languages and cultures are ignored. Languages are a fundamental part of the European cultural heritage. They need recognition and protection; people who speak traditional languages need equal opportunity and support.

There are 50 million EU citizens who belong to a traditional language group or a historic national minority. We are different in many ways, yet we have common goals: we all want to be equal, we all want protection for our language and culture, we all want a guarantee that nobody can take away our rights. We want to feel at home in our regions. Unfortunately, history and everyday experiences have shown us that not all European states are up for this task. We wish to change this, and the Minority SafePack Initiative is the right instrument to start with. It is a citizen`s initiative coordinated by my organization, the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN), the largest umbrella organisation of the autochthonous minorities and language groups in Europe.

What is the Minority SafePack about? All European languages should be equal, so it asks for an EU recommendation which defines the best ways to protect and promote cultural and linguistic diversity, in particular the use of regional and minority languages in the areas of public administration, public services, education, culture, in the judiciary, media, health care, commerce and consumer protection (including labelling). The initiative asks the EU to abolish any criteria that excludes regional and minority languages from the EU funding programmes. A Language Diversity Centre funded by the EU should be created to raise awareness on the importance of regional and minority languages and promote language diversity at all levels. The regional policy shall be amended in such a way that thematic objectives include the protection of national minorities and the promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity. On audio-visual media and digital services it asks solution to abolish the licensing barriers within the EU and allow minority communities to access content on equal basis with citizens from the Member States.

The Minority SafePack is the best shot for more European rights for the speakers of languages like the Catalan or Euskara. To be successful, we must reach one million signatures before April 2018. Many organizations and partners have joined our common effort from all over Europe, and we have raised 700,000 signatures so far. You will notice on the signature page that Catalan or Euskara languages were not included by the European Commission, neither were included other minority languages. It is time to change this practice as well! We believe the big and strong communities like the Catalans and Basques should be leading voices in this signature campaign. So please join our cause, and sign the Initiative on our webpage:


or directly on the European Commission’s signature page: https://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/32/public/#/

Loránt Vincze
FUEN President