Appeal filed against the lower court decision on the Minority SafePack23.01.2023
On Monday, 23 January 2023, the Minority SafePack Initiative’s Citizens' Committee filed an appeal with the Court of Justice of the European Union in the context of the annulment proceedings brought by the MSPI against the European Commission. The Citizens' Committee and the FUEN’s Presidium unanimously decided to appeal.
"We are confident that the Court of Justice will overrule the General Court's decision of last November, which is not in line with its previous judgments concerning the European Citizens' Initiatives. In our view, the decision has several procedural and substantive flaws. Our lawyer, Thomas Hieber, listed them in a twenty-five-page submission. In the reasoning of the tribunal, we did not receive a satisfactory answer to all our questions and arguments, and the claim that the EU had already done everything possible to protect minority languages and cultures as set out in the MSPI cannot be legally supported", said Member of the European Parliament Loránt Vincze, President of FUEN.
The submission cites as an example of institutional bias the fact that the EC representatives met with representatives of the European Citizens’ Initiative entitled End the Cage Age on seven occasions, and only once with representatives of the MSPI, as required by the Statute. Also, the General Court’s decision refers to Council of Europe institutions and legal instruments of which the EU is not a part and which have not been ratified by several EU Member States.
"We deplore the fact that the General Court has repeated the European Commission's position without any reflection, even though it is factually untrue on several points. We will pursue the legal route, we will use all means at our disposal, we owe this to the more than fifty million EU citizens who speak a minority language. We are already successful in raising awareness of the problems of autochthonous minorities, but we will not give up until we have achieved concrete measures", stressed Loránt Vincze.
The EU General Court ruled on the case in principle on 9 November 2022. The Luxembourg body did not annul the European Commission's decision of January 2021 not to propose legislation on the Minority SafePack proposals, which have gathered more than one million signatures. According to the General Court, “the action already taken by the European Union to emphasise the importance of regional or minority languages and to promote cultural and linguistic diversity is sufficient to achieve the objectives of that initiative.”
The Court of Justice of the European Union is expected to rule on the case within two years.
In the European Union there are approximately 50 million persons belonging to autochthonous national minorities or speaking minority languages. Started in 2013 by the initiative of the FUEN, RMDSZ, SVP and YEN, the Minority SafePack is a European Citizens’ Initiative asking for European protection and promotion of their languages, cultures and rights. It is considered to be the most important initiative for minority rights in the last 30 years.
After an initial refusal of registration by the Commission, the MSPI was finally registered following a European Court decision in 2017. In a Europe-wide campaign coordinated by FUEN, 1,123,422 validated statements of support were collected, and the Minority SafePack Initiative became the fifth successful ECI ever. It also obtained the support of the Bundestag, the Hungarian Parliament, the lower chamber of the Dutch parliament, many regional parliaments, and, most importantly, the European Parliament, which voted a resolution in its support in December 2020. Despite this, the European Commission decided not to propose legal acts based on its proposals.
On 24 March 2021 the Citizens’ Committee of the MSPI filed at the General Court of the European Union a request for the annulment of the European Commission’s decision on the initiative. The Citizens’ Committee, the FUEN - coordinator of the European signature collection campaign, and their legal representatives, based the submission on a careful legal examination of the Commission’s response. They concluded that the communication is deeply flawed by the fact that in it the European Commission infringed its legal obligation to state reasons and committed manifest errors of assessment. Hungary entered the proceedings on behalf of the MSPI, while Slovakia and Greece on behalf of the Commission.
Further information: http://minority-safepack.eu
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