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Support from Friesland: de Vries founding member of the Citizens’ Initiative

Minister Jannewietske de Vries of the Province of Friesland in the Netherlands has joined our European Citizens’ Initiative as one of the founding members. The politician is responsible for the areas of Finance, Culture and Tourism in the provincial government of Friesland. Jannewietske de Vries is member of the Dutch Labour party (PvdA) and has been the chair of the network NPLD (Network to Promote Linguistic Diversity) since 2012.

This means that the group of seven founding members of the European Citizens’ Initiative for minorities is complete now: President Hans Heinrich Hansen (FUEN), President Hunor Kelemen (RMDSZ), Prime Minister Luis Durnwalder (SVP), Prime Minister Karl-Heinz Lambertz (DG), Minister Anke Spoorendonk (SSW), UN High Representative Valentin Inzko and Minister Jannewietske de Vries. The citizens’ committee is presented this week during the congress of the Alliance of the Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ).

The aim of the European citizens’ initiative is, by collecting one million signatures and encouraging the European Commission into putting the issues of the autochthonous minorities and regional or minority languages high on the agenda of the European Union.

“We are very pleased that after several talks Mrs De Vries expressed her willingness to become actively involved in our citizens’ initiative. We explicitly want that all the organisations that work for cultural and linguistic diversity and the protection and promotion of the autochthonous minorities and the regional or minority languages will become actively involved in our project. Two years ago already we concluded a cooperation agreement with NPLD, which we now can build on with our citizens’ initiative”, said FUEN President Hans Heinrich Hansen. 

Province of Friesland  (official name in Frisian: Fryslân) is one of the twelve Dutch provinces. Friesland is the second northernmost province in the Netherlands. Its capital is Leeuwarden (in Frisian: Ljouwert). Fryslân is the only province with a second official language besides Dutch, namely Frisian. This language is being spoken by circa 400,000 people.  (http://www.fryslan.nl)

Network to Promote Linguistic Diversity (NPLD) is a Europe-wide network in the field of language policy and language planning for the regional or minority languages and for lesser used state languages. Its members are governments, regional and national NGOs as well as universities and associations. (www.npld.eu

Photo: http://www.omropfryslan.nl