On the protection of minority languages in the EP

24.02.2015 | European Parliament , protection of minority rights
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On the protection of minority languages in the EP

The future of minority languages in Europe was on the agenda of the European Parliament on Tuesday, February 24th as Hungarian MEP from Romania Csaba Sógor, Wales MEP Jill Evans and South-Tyrolean MEP Herbert Dorfmann hosed a conference entitled Language, Identity and Power. The event organised on the International Mother Tongue Day was attended by representatives of the civil, political and professional society. 

RMDSZ MEP Csaba Sógor addressed the audience at the event saying: “It is very important for the Hungarian community in Romania that the European Peoples' Party takes strong action in the interest of protecting minority and regional languages. There are about six thousand languages worldwide, three thousand of which are considered as endangered, but the truly startling thing is that two of these languages disappear every month - explained Csaba Sógor. However, European statistics show that regional identity is growing stronger in the EU, and that favours the strengthening of regional languages.


In the opinion of the MEP, legislations in themselves cannot stop the processes that lead to the disappearance of a language. Individuals and communities play the main role in the preservation of a language; still, NGOs and political organisations should bear the responsibility and provide support in this effort.


Zoltán Kántor, leader of the Research Institute for Hungarian Communities Abroad was present at the event, and presented the situation of Hungarian speaking communities outside of Hungary. Sebahattin Abdurrahman spoke on the language rights of the Turks in Greece, Rudi Janssens showed good practice examples from Belgium, Paul Videsott represented the Ladin Community in South Tyrol, whilst Hannes Wilhelm-Kell presented the opportunities of the lower Sorbian speaking people, and multilingualism expert Johan Häggman formulated a suggestion on What the EU can and should do for minority languages.


Former Corsican MEP François Alfonsi, the rapporteur of the EP report on endangered European languages and linguistic diversity in the European Union was also present at the meeting. The conclusion of the event was that political and economic development of a community is unthinkable without the guarantee of language rights, and the most reassuring answers to this issue lie within cultural and/or territorial autonomies.


The event was sponsored by the European People's Party, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO), the Centre Maurits Coppieters  and the  Greens/European Free Alliance political group.