Union Fédéraliste des Communautés Ethniques Européennes
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Media rush at the presentation of the citizens’ initiative

At the presentation were FUEN President Hans Heinrich Hansen, FUEN Vice President Martha Stocker and FUEN Director Jan Diedrichsen. The founding partners of the initiative, which has been in preparation since 2011, are FUEN, the Hungarians in Romania, the South Tyrolean People’s Party and the Youth of European Nationalities (YEN). 

The goal of the European citizens’ initiative is to collect one million signatures and to encourage the European Commission to put the issues of the autochthonous minorities / ethnic groups and regional or minority languages high on the agenda of the European Union. A specific emphasis is put on a strong Europe of the regions. The citizens’ initiative proposed concrete measures that will improve the situation of the more than 300 minority groups in Europe. Europe has more than 100 million people who belong to an autochthonous minority / ethnic group and in the European Union alone 40 million people speak another language than the official state language of their country. 

Only few weeks before the FUEN Congress in Brixen, South Tyrol, where the citizens’ initiative will be officially presented during a ceremony that will be attended by the 90 member organisations of FUEN, the President of the Hungarians in Romania, Hunor Kelemen, presented the citizens’ committee who will submit the citizens’ initiative to the European Commission: “We forged a very strong alliance and won over renowned representatives from seven different countries. We clearly recognise the need for a common approach of all minorities in Europe, based on solidarity”, said Hunor Kelemen during the very well attended press conference. 

The seven members of the citizens’ committee of the initiative are: President Hans Heinrich Hansen (FUEN), President Hunor Kelemen (President of the Hungarians in Romania), Prime Minister Luis Durnwalder (South Tyrol), Prime Minister Karl-Heinz Lambertz (German-speaking Community in Belgium), Minister Anke Spoorendonk (Schleswig-Holstein), UN High Representative Valentin Inzko (Carinthia) and Minister Jannewietske de Vries (Province of Friesland). 

FUEN President Hans Heinrich Hansen underlined the unique chance to start serious and promising negotiations with the newly elected European Parliament and the new European Commission in 2014 with one million signatures backing up the demands. “We have to acknowledge that in the past decade minority issues have moved to the background. We need the solidarity of all the minorities in Europe in order to stop this trend and to fight for measurable improvements.”