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European Commission rejects citizens’ initiative for the minorities: reasoning is incomprehensible, disappointing and exasperating – initiators considering legal action

The preparations undertaken by the minorities in Europe for the “Minority SafePack Initiative” have been going on for more than two years. With a lot of commitment we have organised many meetings, we had consultations with legal experts and we have gained strong political support at many levels, and created a coalition that is working in the European minority regions on the citizens’ initiative and the collection of one million signatures. It is our goal to strengthen the rights and opportunities on the European level of more than 40 million citizens who belong to an autochthonous minority or who speak a regional or minority language. With a lot of enthusiasm the instrument of the European Citizens’ Initiative was embraced as a chance for directly influencing European policy.

But yesterday at 18:02 hr, exactly two months after we have submitted the initiative, the European Commission put a (temporary) spoke in our wheel. The citizens’ initiative was rejected. The legal reasoning given by the European Commission is incomprehensible, disappointing and exasperating for the initiators:

“We fail to understand the answer. We do by no means agree to the opinion that our proposal falls manifestly outside the framework of the Commission’s powers. We are disappointed but we will continue our  campaign for minority rights”, says the chairman of the citizens’ committee that submitted the proposal, FUEN president Hans Heinrich Hansen, in his first reaction.

Former minister and chairman Kelemen Hunor of the largest European minority, the Hungarians in Romania, adds: “With this decision the European Commission refuses the partnership offer of the European national and linguistic minorities. In my opinion the Commission made a political decision, because this initiative was properly prepared both legally and technically”, according to Kelemen Hunor.

At the moment the initiators are considering if they should take legal action against the decision. On 26 September 2013 an open forum-discussion will take place about the European Citizens’ Initiative of the minorities in the European Parliament in Brussels. 

Read the answer of the European Commission

For press enquiries, please contact:
Loránt Vincze, FUEN Vice President, +32 489134995 
Jan Diedrichsen, FUEN-Director, +45 22308876