"The European Union says that language competences are an exclusive competence of the Member States, who do whatever they want to do. The European Unio's slogan, 'United in diversity' is a nice one, but it remains empty words until nothing concrete is undertaken to protect regional and minority languages. This is why we have started the Minority SafePack Initiative: we want the EU to protect and promote regional and minority languages and cultures" - said Loránt Vincze, president of the Federal Union of European Nationalities. The leader of the largest umbrella organization of minorities in Europe took part in a conference on language diversity in Europe, on Tuesday, the 6th of February in Barcelona. The event took place at the University of Barcelona and was organized by..............
Loránt Vincze presented their European Citizens' Initiative which wants the EU to share competences with the Member States in the protection of minorities and language groups in different areas: linguistic rights, education, access to public services, regional funds, media.
"One of the goals of Catalonia would be to make Catalan an official EU language, to achieve full rights as a European language. We believe that all historical languages of Europe should be equal and deserve protection, not only the ones which are official languages of the EU. Our initiative is meant to be a project of solidarity, to share these language claims" - the President of the FUEN said.
He told the audience that the initiative needs 1,000,000 signatures, from at least 7 different EU Member States before the 2nd of April. They are now at 600,000 and still need at least 400,000. FUEN believes that with the help of the strong Catalan organizations they will reach Spain's national threshold of 40,500 signatures.
The petition can be signed at http://www.minority-safepack.eu The website is available in Catalan, but the form itself can only be signed in Spanish, as the European Commission accepts only the forms of the official EU languages. That is what we want to change! - concluded Loránt Vincze.
Linguist Emili Boix remembered the audience that although 60 years have passed since the Treaty of Rome, but we still know so little of Europe, outside the euro, Erasmus and a few other things. "Mediocre Europe is as gray as Brussels' skies: it turns a blind eye on dying refugees, xenophobia in the East, the repression in Catalonia these last months", Mr. Boix said, adding that the Minority SafePack Initiative aims to change that as it makes the citizen's voices be heard.
Boix criticized the European states which are reluctant to sign, ratify and apply the Charter of Regional and Minority Languages.
"Everybody agrees languages are a treasure, but unfortunately the states see languages through political glasses, through their interests and borders. Europe presents itself to the world as a champion of democracy and human rights, but it seems to have abdicated to play a role in Europe itself" - said Vicent Partal.
"Europe has a democratic deficit. Elected politicians in states can't do politics because of Brussels and Brussels, plenty of unelected bureaucrats, is doing politics without accountability, which creates frustration with the people", he added, considering that the Minroity SafePack is a good initiative for a more respectful, just and democratic Europe.
During his stay in Barcelona FUEN President Loránt Vincze had meetings with Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, Assemblea Nacional de Catalunya and Candiatur d'Unitat Popular and took part in Platafroma per la Llengua's Martí Gasull Awards.