MEP Iuliu Winkler (RMDSZ, EPP) took a stand for the rights of Hungarians and Romanians in Ukraine to receive education in their mother tongue, as part of a political statement, which he held on Monday evening in the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. On this occasion, the MEP appealed to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to refer the new Education Law back to the Verkhovna Rada.
National minorities in Romania should be the ones to judge their situation themselves, not the head of state, who has made it clear several times, that he thinks of himself not as a German but as a Romanian of German descent – stated Csaba Sógor in the European Parliament during the plenary session of February.
The new Ukrainian education draft law is a setback regarding mother tongue education, ignoring the concerns expressed by representatives of national minorities – pointed out Csaba Sógor, adding that apparently the Ukrainian Government has not read the conclusions of the most recent European Council meeting on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which emphasizes that the principles of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights should be respected in the country.
The most recent, 2015 European Union report on the situation of fundamental rights finally has a chapter dedicated to the rights of minorities. In the opinion of Csaba Sógor the European Union was long overdue to consider facts regarding national minorities living within the EU borders. MEPs debated and voted on the report on Monday, December 13th, during the European Parliament’s Strasbourg plenary session.
A state regarding its own indigenous national minorities as foreign bodies can lead to social tensions – stated Csaba Sógor in Strasbourg during the debate on the situation of Tatars in the Crimean Peninsula. The DAHR MEP also pointed out that, unfortunately, collective stigmatisation of communities occurs even within the European Union.
A vehement protest action preceded a conference hosted in the European Parliament’s building in Brussels by RMDSZ MEP Csaba Sógor on the Turkish minority in Greece. Right before the start of the conference entitled Freedom of association in Greece - a loophole in European minority rights standards MEPs of the Greek far-right tried to disrupt the conference by using violent language and claiming that there is no Turkish minority in Greece - a fact, which according to Csaba Sógor only demonstrates how real the problems of ethnic minorities are in Greece.
Swept under the carpet – Minority rights in Central and Eastern Europe after the EU accession – This was the title of a round table discussion held on February 24th in the European Parliament to commemorate International Mother Tongue Day and organised by Csaba Sógor RMDSZ MEP in the European Parliament on 24 February. Host of the event opened the discussion saying: "Those who want to exercise their rights to use their mother tongue are exposed to the persecution of the authorities on a daily basis in Romania. The state does not guarantee conditions for the application of the law, and yet Romania considers it has solved the national minority issues in an exemplary manner."
Members of the European Parliament proposed the establishment of a monitoring mechanism that would make Member States meet the Copenhagen criteria even after they have joined the EU, promoting the respect of the core values of the European Union.
On the 11th July Iuliu Winkler and Csaba Sógor RMDSZ MEPs held a discussion on the topic of migration at the EU Camp organized at Izvorul Mureșului by the Hungarian Youth Conference (MIÉRT), the Executive Presidency of RMDSZ and the Kós Károly Academy Foundation between the 7th and 12th July for the 12th time this year.
The tension around the Ukrainian situation and the issue of refugees in Europe cast a shadow on the situation of autochthonous national minorities. As a result of recent events, the fear from minorities has intensified in Europe – said Csaba Sógor on Friday in Miercurea Ciuc.
In Romania there are subjects that even the president refrains from discussing – pointed out Csaba Sógor during the April 27th plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
The issue of traditional national minorities was on the agenda of the European People's Party (EPP) for the first time during a public hearing on the matter organised on Wednesday April 22nd in Brussels. The conclusion that may be drawn following the hearing attended by international specialists and NGO representatives is that an EPP guideline should be set in the field. The document is expected to be drafted by the group's members in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) committee of the EP.
In reference to the Szekler freedom day of March the 10th banned in Târgu-Mureș Csaba Sógor called upon the European Parliament to remind Romania: restricting the right of assembly is not a tool of democratic systems.
In the opinion of Csaba Sógor it is most welcome that the Serbian government intends to find a solution for the problems of traditional national minorities
The European Parliament urges Serbia to draft an action plan for resolving the issues of national minorities in a resolution adopted on Wednesday, 11th of March, following a debate on the previous evening. Csaba Sógor commented on the subject saying that he hopes Serbia would set a good example for the member states that fail to meet the Copenhagen criteria after accession to the European Union.
The European People’s Party Group (EPP) held a two day board meeting in Toledo. The Digital Economy Programmeand fighting terrorism in the EU and outside its borders were on the agenda of the European Parliament's largest political group on the 5th and 6th of March.
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.
Members of the European Parliament debated the situation of democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights in the EU on Wednesday. The meeting was attended by the Vice-President of the Commission, Frans Timmermans and a representative of the Latvian Presidency. MEPs assessed what tools the EU has in case EU member states themselves do not meet the Copenhagen criteria.
Astrid Thors, High Commissioner on National Minorities at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe presented the situation of national minorities in Europe at the Strasbourg meeting of the European parliament’s Minority Workgroup on February 12th. The High Commissioner stressed the importance of a definition of national minorities and the need for peaceful diplomatic relations between states in the interest of protecting and applying minority rights.
“We need to focus more on minority issues, because the way we treat them shows how much we respect each other in our society” – said the European Commission’s first vice president Frans Timmermans, at the meeting of the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) on Wednesday.
“The European Ombudsman should engage in raising awareness about the national minority rights specified in the European agreements and treaties”- pointed out Csaba Sógor in the European Parliament. The EP reviewed the activities of the institution for the year 2013 on Thursday, January 15th.