Committee of the Regions calls for multiannual programme for language learning and linguistic diversity
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Publié le 20/10/03 11:11 -- mis à jour le 00/00/00 00:00

Committee of the Regions calls for multiannual programme for language learning and linguistic diversity

Graz 20/10/03, by Bojan Brezigar

The Committee of the Regions (CoR) will propose the establishment of a multi-annual programme for language learning and linguistic diversity and supports the proposal for the establishment of a European Agency on Linguistic Diversity and Language Learning to monitor the implementation of the Action Plan, recently adopted by the European Commission.

The draft opinion was given on Friday in Graz, where a seminar on ‘Cultural diversity – European Wealth’, organised by CoR to celebrate the cultural capital of Europe, by the rapporteur, Ms. Annette McNamara from Cork, Ireland. Ms. McNamara stressed that in the draft document, which is expected to be adopted at the November plenary session, the Committee considers ‘that special attention is required to assist the promotion of regional and minority languages’.

The seminar was the occasion for a general overview of the activities of the Committee, which is now approaching the half mandate. The discussion outlined the huge interest of the Committee for regional or minority languages. Ms. Rosemary Butler from Wales reported on the opinion on the extension of the Culture 2000 programme underlining that ‘each community has the right to self-expression, particularly if this is a minority language expression.’ She stressed that ‘regional and minority languages should be properly integrated into EU programmes’. CoR has already stated that the successor programme to Culture 2000 must ‘embrace all local, regional, national and sub-state manifestations of cultural and linguistic diversity’.

Speaking about the Media programme, Ms. Susie Kemp from the West Berkshire Council (UK) stressed that the CoR opinion includes the recognition of the ‘significant potential for the promotion of linguistic diversity, particularly for minority languages’.

Talking about the CoR report on ‘Television without Frontiers’, Mr. Jose Muñoa Ganuza from the Basque country underlined the request to Member States ‘to take into account their regional and minority languages when broadcasting the events of major importance to society … and, insofar as possible, to broadcast such events in those languages for the regions concerned’. The report also suggests that the forthcoming Directive should promote regional and local television broadcasts, ‘including those with content in regional and/or minority languages with the aim of fostering the cultural diversity of Europe’.

An outline of CoR activities in the domain of cultural and linguistic diversity was given by the President of the Cultural Committee Mr. Henning Jensen from Denmark. He stressed that ‘cultural diversity is the real Europe’s wealth’, it provides substantial added value in cultural industries and cultural tourism and it is ‘vital to combat racism and xenophobia’. The Committee of the Regions has always respected cultural diversity as one of the basic elements of Europe. ‘Cultural diversity includes linguistic diversity as well,’ he stressed, adding that it is a ‘source of richness to be preserved’. Mentioning regional and minority languages Mr. Jensen concluded that they are an ‘inclusive part of European linguistic diversity and therefore they should be promoted’. (EL)

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