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Rejection of the Citizens’ Initiative: Minister considers an own initiative report at the Committee of the Regions

The Committee of the Regions (CoR) is often overlooked as an institution of the European Union. That is without good reason, because with its reports and opinions the CoR has effective instruments to influence the policies of the European Union. “The Committee of the Regions is a natural partner of the minorities of Europe. As is known, these minorities are strongly attached to their regions”, said Hans Heinrich Hansen in the Representation of the Land of Baden-Württemberg in Brussels on 9 October 2013. The FUEN president had the honour of giving the “dinner speech” to the German delegation at the Committee of the Regions and used this opportunity to explain his dissatisfaction with the rejection of the Citizens’ Initiative “Minority SafePack Initiative” by the European Commission.

The Minister for Justice, Culture and Europe from the Land of Schleswig-Holstein, Anke Spoorendonk (SSW) – who is one of the initiators of our Citizens’ Initiative – made it possible to speak here. She expressed her support for the FUEN President after he finished his speech: the complex dilemma of the European Union in regard to minority issues is demonstrated not least because of the Copenhagen Criteria, which demand minority protection of accession states, but which are not mandatory anymore once a state has become an EU-member. The rejection of the European Citizens’ Initiative by the European Commission is very annoying and not very convincing. At the moment all the options are considered, both political pressure and legal action.

Connoisseurs and friends of the minorities can be found in unexpected positions. The President of the regional parliament of the Land of Hesse, Norbert Kartmann, spoke up after the contribution by FUEN President Hans Heinrich Hansen.”I myself are a Banat Swabian (a person from the German minority in the Serbian-Romanian border region) – and I am very interested in this subject.”

Anke Spoorendonk explained that she will consider the possibility of tabling an initiative report within the framework of the Committee of the Regions, and to use this procedure to forward the substance of the European Citizens’ Initiative to the European Commission and the European Parliament.

Photo: Head of Hanse Office in Brussels, Thorsten Augustin, FUEN-president Hans Heinrich Hansen, Minister Anke Spoorendonk, Minister Holger Poppenhäger