Publié le 20/11/03 19:47 -- mis à jour le 00/00/00 00:00
The Committee of the Regions (CoR), meeting in Plenary Session today, has unanimously backed the European Commission’s Action Plan for linguistic diversity.
A draft opinion from CoR’s rapporteur Annette McNamara, strongly supported the Commission’s initiative and went further recommending that: ‘special attention is required to assist the promotion of regional and minority languages’ and emphasised that the mainstream European education, training and culture programmes be easily accessible by those promoting regional and minority languages.
Furthermore, CoR called for a multi-annual programme for language learning and linguistic diversity and supported the European Parliament’s decision for an Agency to promote this. In the absence of such an Agency, CoR are calling for a ‘permanent high-level group of representatives to assist in monitoring the implementation of the Action Plan’. They emphasised the important role that the regions would have to play in implementing the Action Plan considering that many regions are responsible for education and media.
Viviane Reding, Commissioner for DG Education and Culture, underlined the important role that the CoR had saying that ‘Europe would not be able to maintain cultural and linguistic diversity without the CoR’.
Speaking to Eurolang, Mrs McNamara member of Cork County Council and the South West Regional Authority, said: ‘ I’m very pleased with what Mrs Reding said, she was so positive about languages… and not hiding the language element of programmes so much so that it becomes impossible for regional or minority language promoters to apply, that is hugely important’.
‘I hope that the larger picture will be seen, there is a lot of fear of linguistic diversity in Member States, its something that we’ll need to combat’
Mrs McNamara added that: ‘The teaching of Irish in particular has undergone a massive change in the last few years as it is now being taught as any other modern language. It means that Irish will escape the tag of being a ‘minority’ language and also benefit from the best practice in language learning accorded to other languages’.
by Davyth Hicks