Overview of the Congress14.05.2014
Together with Bund Deutscher Nordschleswiger (German minority in Denmark) and Sydslesvigsk Forening (Danish minority in Germany), FUEN organised the largest minority congress in Europe, with about 200 guests from 30 countries. It was a jubilee congress; FUEN was founded in 1949 and can look back at 65 years of activities this year.
We would like to give you an overview of the main subjects of the congress and show you the many beautiful photos from the congress. At the end of this overview you find a register of articles in the media where you can read what others have been writing about us. If you have found media articles, photos or maybe self-written memories – please send them to us!
We thank all the participants and guests; it has been great fun together with you.
You can get the best impressions of the congress from the photos on our Flickr-page. Enjoy!
The Congress was officially opened by FUEN President Hans Heinrich Hansen. In his speech he spoke about the developments in Crimea and in Ukraine. He also addressed the “non-existing minority policy” of the European Commission and regretted the Commission’s decision to reject the European citizens’ initiative “Minority SafePack Initiative”. FUEN will not accept this decision, but challenge it both with political and legal instruments. In recent years FUEN developed into the first port of call for minority issues in Europe, said the FUEN President.
Ukraine - Crimea
There was a lot of discussion in Flensburg and Sønderborg. Highly controversial debates took place about Ukraine, Crimea and the future of the minorities in the European Union. Many of our thoughts went to our members in Crimea – the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People – who are facing forced dissolution by the new Russian rulers. The speeches that we listened to were sometimes gloomy. Again and again the words: “that is like in the nineties in the Balkans” wandered through the halls.
The emotional contribution by the Flensburg City Council President Swetlana Krätzschmar was impressive. She comes from a neighbouring town of Odessa, where two days before our Congress several people were killed in street riots. Those who had come to the FUEN Congress for clear answers may have been disappointed. In the current crisis there are no simple answers. There is only the fact that minorities are always among the first people that have to suffer from these sort of geopolitical conflicts. Not “the Russians”, or “the Fascists in Kiev”, or “the Americans”, or “the EU”, are to blame for the conflict. It is a convoluted history, with many who are guilty, with agitators and profiteers and with many, many victims.
Symposium on the occasion of Europe Day
In the concert hall of the Alsion-building in Sønderborg a symposium on the subject “Minorities’ added value” took place on 9 May 2014. The symposium was supported by the INTERREG-programme of the German-Danish region. Minister Martha Stocker from South Tyrol and Minister Oliver Paasch from Belgium discussed together with the Director of the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI), Tove Malloy, about the opportunities of cross-border cooperation and the advantages of new forms of cooperation, such as the “European Groupings for Territorial Cooperation (EGTC)”. The main message was that Europe will have to develop in a continent with strong regions, in order for the citizens to accept it. FUEN used the chance given with the symposium to provide information about its project to establish a “House of Minorities”, together with the Danish and German minorities.
In a second debate Eva Kjer Hansen, Jens Peter Bonde, Reimer Böge and Jens A. Christiansen discussed about the future of the minorities in the European Union. The discussion round was particularly relevant because only a few days earlier the European Commission had reacted to the appeal that we submitted to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to request the legal annulment of the decision rejecting our citizens’ initiative “Minority SafePack Initiative” (MSPI). The European Commission reiterates its view that European minorities are not within their framework of competence, but that they are only an issue for the different Member States of the EU. The minorities and the initiators of the citizens’ initiative continue to challenge this view and the procedure against the European Commission at the ECJ in Luxemburg will continue.
On Europe Day, 9 May 2014, the finals of the MiLaS language competition took place in the impressive concert hall of the Alsion-building in Sønderborg / Sonderburg, Denmark. In the past weeks the language competition led to the creation of more than 30, for a part very diverse videos from 10 countries and in 25 languages, in the world-wide-web.
To decide who would be the winner was not easy at all. The top-notch international jury had a hard time and also the audience of more than 200 people clearly would have been satisfied if every single one of the finalists would have received a prize. But there can only be only one winner, or in the case of MiLaS, only two: the Ludwig Andresen School from the German minority in Denmark with their act “synnejysk kaffeboe” and Lisiana Demiraj from Albania with “Ai – He” shared the first place. Closely behind them was the second place for “SAEK serbski widejokružk” in cooperation with “Ignac Fecich & dance company” (DE) with the song “Ćek dom (Get home)”. The third place went to Manuel Trapp (DE) with his act “Stolz ein Jenischer zu sein”, which he had to share with the Seventh Grade Class of Deutsche Schule Pattburg (DK), with the act “Lasse und Maria”.
Please take a look at the site of our Language Diversity Team
FUEN – Assembly of Delegates
The supreme decision making body of FUEN is the annual Assembly of Delegates. Despite the fact that there were no elections this year, there was intense discussion, new Member Organisations were admitted, several resolutions were adopted and the Delegates were informed about the FUEN Congresses of 2015 (Komotini, Greece), 2016 (Wrocław / Breslau, Poland) and 2018 (Leeuwarden / Ljouwert, Friesland).
The Presidium proposed a FUEN Manifesto and a resolution on the situation in Ukraine, which was unanimously adopted by the Delegates after an intense discussion.
Additionally, the following resolutions were adopted:
On the Rehabilitation of the Germans in Russia
The Recognition of the Yenish as a minority of their own
Resolution on the situation of the Rusyns / Ruthenes in Ukraine
Resolution on the situation of the Western Thrace Turks
Resolution on the situation of the Greeks in Turkey
Resolution on Territorial Reform in Brittany
The Lezghins, the Party of the German-speaking Belgians (ProDG) and the Turks from Rhodes, Kos and the Dodecanese Islands were admitted as new Member Organisations, as well as the Hungarian Civic Party as a supporting member.
"Minority Market" / Minority evening in Flensborghus / Excursion to North Friesland
Next to the discussions there was also a rich social programme. The FUEN Congress started with a Minority Market. Also this year the minorities brought specialties from their home country. It developed into a very enjoyable evening.
During the Minority Evening in the Flensborghus-building and during the excusion to North Friesland the visitors were introduced to the “minority life” in the German-Danish region.
The 65th anniversary of FUEN was celebrated with a gala evening in a beautiful atmosphere. The Chairman of Danfoss, Jørgen Mads Clausen, and his wife, amongst others, attended the gala. Until the early hours everybody partied and danced.
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