Partnership for Diversity forum calls on MEPs to promote lesser-used languages in European electoral campaigns
Dépêche de Eurolang

Publié le 26/02/04 21:55 -- mis à jour le 00/00/00 00:00

by Alexia Bos Solé

The 4th Partnership for Diversity Forum (PfD) 2004 held in Flensburg ended on Saturday, with more than 150 people, representing over 40 minority languages, in attendance. The PfD Forum was established to discuss the situation and problems of lesser-used languages in Europe.

According to Mrs. Teresa Condeço, from the European Commission, the PfD Forum was a ‘good example of putting minorities in contact and facilitating exchange between them’. In addition, Mrs. Condeço said that the ‘EC promises to help minority community projects through the Action Plan for Language Learning and Linguistic Diversity’.

Mr. Rudolf Haling from the Council of Europe (CoE) announced that the CoE is currently developing a recommendation concerning education and minority languages in cross-border regions. He also stressed the importance for regional and local authorities to co-operate with the European Union.

The later sessions dealt chiefly with best practice in language promotion. Priit Järve, senior analyst at the European Centre for Minority Issues, focused on the Russian minorities living in the Baltic States. Järve denounced the lack of protection for the Russian language in these States adding that: ‘signing the European Charter of Minority or Regional Languages is politically unacceptable for the Baltic States’, added Mr. Järve.

Mrs. Andrea Kunsemüller, director of the Secretariat of the Region Sønderjylland-Schleswig, told the audience about institutionalised Danish-German co-operation, which was reinforced in 1997 with an agreement setting a closer co-operation at administrative level. ‘We try our best to make people speak more Danish and more German and our objective is to make Danish take root in German schools and German in Danish schools’ said Mrs. Kunsemüller.

The 4th Partnership for Diversity Forum 2004 concluded with a declaration from all the participants to ask MEPs to consider the promotion of lesser-used languages in their electoral campaign. The document also requests to the European Commission to facilitate the access of minority and regional language to the chief funding programmes of the European Union.

The next PfD forum will be in the city of Gorizia, located in the northeastern part of Italy, in April 2005. The event will be sponsored by the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region and Gorizia province.

Commenting on the treatment that local authorities gave to minority languages such as Slovene in the province of Gorizia, Marco Marincic, from Gorizia’s provincial government said that ‘local administrative bodies consider cultural variety, that is, the promotion of languages and identities as an essential asset for the territory’. However, Mr Marincic added that ‘this has not always been the case’.

Eurolang? is a specialist niche news agency covering topics related to lesser-used languages, linguistic diversity, stateless nations and national minorities within the European Union. It provides an expanding on-line daily service across Europe, to NGOs, the media, European, State and local government, academia, researchers and the general public. The purpose of Eurolang is to provide, on a daily basis, relevant and current news about Europe's regional, stateless and minority language communities, numbering some 46 million speakers, to the general public and to national and regional media (newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, internet media) in Europe and worldwide.
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