Union Fédéraliste des Communautés Ethniques Européennes
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First meeting of the new FUEN Presidium deals with the principles of the minority organisation

On 12 October 2022, the newly elected Presidium of the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN) held their first online Presidium Meeting. President Loránt Vincze, Vice Presidents Bahne Bahnsen, Bernard Gaida, Nabi Ibraimtzik, Olivia Schubert and Gösta Toft and YEN President Andor Barabás took part in the meeting.

The main topic of the meeting was the open letter of FUEN Honorary President Hans Heinrich Hansen and the open letter of the Minority Council in Germany which questioned the independence of the FUEN and its commitment to democracy and human rights. On this occasion, the FUEN Presidium also adopted an official statement.

“We all in the Federal Union of European Nationalities and its member organisations are committed to freedom, democracy and the rule of law, to openness, transparency and mutual respect – as stated in the FUEN Charter from 2006. We all condemn all breaches of freedom, democracy, human rights and rule of law” – stated Loránt Vincze at the meeting.

He added that FUEN’s strength lies in its more than 100 member organisations. “They come from all over Europe, from many different countries, and have different backgrounds. They are all free to have their political views and we recognise their rights to voice and represent them whenever they want. We cherish the democratic principles of the freedom of belief and the freedom of speech. But the cause that brings all these organisations together in FUEN is minority protection. Here, they are united and have been united for the last 70 years under the banner of minority protection, and I am confident that they will continue to do so” – said the President.

FUEN Vice-President Bahne Bahnsen, who is responsible for FUEN's finances in the Executive Board, explains: "Only a little less than a decade ago, FUEN was financially on very shaky ground. During this time, there were several situations in which we were on the verge of bankruptcy. Six years ago, when we won the funding from the Hungarian Bethlen Gábor Foundation, we were able to stabilise FUEN and put it on a secure footing monetarily." At the same time, he emphasises that as a result, FUEN "never experienced any political influence on our work for the minorities of Europe by the Hungarian sponsor". If this had ever been the case, the Presidium would have reacted immediately, otherwise its credibility would have been damaged. 

“Like any other funding we receive and for which we are very grateful, we invest it in structures and projects that serve to promote the recognition of autochthonous national minorities, ethnic groups and regional language communities, and which should thus contribute to ensuring that a "Europe of diversity" does not remain just an empty phrase”, stated Bahnsen. " In its 70-year history, FUEN has never been in such a good financial position and as independent as it is today."

Gösta Toft, FUEN Vice-President and responsible for resolutions, once again shed light on the usual procedure for resolutions and the reasons for the rejection of the resolution submitted by the Minority Council at short notice: “Resolutions have to be submitted ten weeks in advance. After this deadline, urgent resolutions can be sent and the Presidium then decides whether these resolutions can be approved. The Minority Council resolution was submitted on Friday 23 September, one week before the Assembly of Delegates, and was unanimously rejected at an online meeting of the Presidium on Monday 26 September, partly because it was submitted too late, and furthermore, the Minority Council as an organisation is not a FUEN member. The deadline is not just a formality: our member organisations must have the opportunity to deal with the resolutions in good time before the assembly and be able to act accordingly”, Toft stated. He emphasised that the Presidium was united behind its decision and invites the Minority Council to a dialogue. “We have achieved a lot for minority protection in Europe in the past, but there are still many challenges to overcome - we want to overcome these for and with our member organisations and continue to act as a strong, united voice for minority protection in Europe”, said Gösta Toft. 

The newly elected FUEN Presidium, which was democratically elected from among the member organisations and thus received the trust of the members of the FUEN member organisations, begins its work. A lot will happen in the coming months for the continuation of the projects and the work for the rights of minorities at the European level. The Presidium members all agree that they will look positively into the future and continue to represent an independent and strong FUEN.