Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!18.12.2013
Dear friends of FUEN!
This year was like an emotional rollercoaster for FUEN. On the one hand we had a wonderful moment of solidarity in Brixen, where we launched the citizens’ initiative “Minority SafePack” , with which we wanted to raise attention for the issue of minorities on the European level; on the other hand there was bitter disappointment, as we received the decision of the European Commission in September that our citizens’ initiative was rejected.
That was a shock for us: we had and we still have the idea that with this initiative we found our shared cause and that we can make the issue of the minorities a matter for discussion on the European level.
I believe that it is obvious for everyone, for politicians and also for the often-chastened bureaucrats in the European institutions, that the minorities should be listened to. The reasoning of the European Union for the rejection, that “minorities fall manifestly outside the framework of competence of the European Union...” is a knockout argument, which, once accepted, would bar the EU itself from engaging in any possible action.
Now that we do not accept the rejection, we do what we have always been doing: we fight for our rights from a position that the majority would see as hopeless. But we don’t, because we know from long, sometimes very painful experience how much staying power is required in matters related to minority issues.We asked legal experts to examine if the EU really does not have competence in regard to minority issues. They say no. They say that we have a fair chance – we, and therefore in the end also the EU itself.
I agree with my colleagues in the citizens’ committee RMDSZ-President and Minister (ret.) Kelemen Hunor from Romania, Minister for Justice, Culture and Europe of the Land of Schleswig-Holstein Anke Spoorendonk from Germany, High Commissioner of the United Nations for Bosnia and Herzegovina Valentin Inzko from Austria, Prime Minister (ret.) of South Tyrol Luis Durnwalder from Italy and Prime Minister of the German-speaking Community and Chairman of the Social-Democratic Group at the Committee of the Regions Karl-Heinz Lambertz from Belgium, that we will defend ourselves and that we do not easily accept the decision by the Commission. We are convinced that minorities do fall within the “framework of competence” of the European Union.
It is a major task to collect one million signatures in Europe. Of course we do not know in advance that we will be successful, but there is a great number of us, and we have a cause that can convince both the majority and the minority.
Professor Stefan Oeter, former chairman of the independent Committee of Experts of the Council of Europe for the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages recently said at our language conference in Cottbus: “sometimes you have to fight for your rights”.How right he is – but it is a pity that we always have to fight!
We need your support for this undertaking. We shall use the coming year 2014 with the elections of the European Parliament and the appointment of the new European Commission to build up political pressure. Somehow it is a blessing in disguise.
But this will not just require commitment and stamina, but also financial money. Money that almost no one of us minorities have, but maybe there will be a Christmas miracle, and one or two of us may find a few banknotes. Our account is always open.
And, as we don’t want to end with requests, we now arrive at the wishes.
We wish you a merry Christmas, and that we will meet again alive and kicking in the New Year!
Hans Heinrich Hansen
President of FUEN
Our bank account is:
BLZ 215 106 00 • No. 100 035 1600
SWIFT SYBKDE22 • IBAN DE55 2151 0600 1000 3516 00
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