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Minister will act as ambassador for the citizens’ initiative

Anke Spoorendonk, the Justice, Culture and Europe Minister in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, will support the European citizens’ initiative for the minorities in Europe as an ambassador and founding member. 

The citizens’ initiative aims at collecting 1 million signatures for diversity in Europe and by doing so, strengthening the influence of the autochthonous, national minorities.
There are over 300 minorities in Europe with in total more than 100 million people. That means that every seventh citizen is part of a minority. In the EU, 40 million people speak another language than the state language of the country they are living in.

The European Citizens’ Initiative is a new, political instrument of the European Union that gives the citizens direct influence on the decisions in Brussels.

“I consider the approach of the minorities in Europe, to join together and urge the European Union to do more for cultural and linguistic diversity and the rights of the minorities, to be right and necessary. It is important that not only politicians, but also civil society has a say in European affairs. That’s why for me it was self-evident that I shall actively support this citizens’ initiative”, said Minister Anke Spoorendonk, who represents the party of the Danish minority, SSW.

Anke Spoorendonk is in good company, as also the Governor of South Tyrol, Luis Durnwalder, the president of the Hungarians in Romania, former Romanian Culture Minister Kelemen Hunor, and the UN High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Dr Valentin Inzko will be founding members. The launch of the citizens’ initiative will be at the largest congress of the minorities in Europe – the FUEN Congress – that will take place in Brixen in the summer of 2013. One million signatures should be collected by the time the election for the European Parliament will take place in 2014.

The founding partners of the initiative are the representative organisation of the Democratic Alliance of the Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ)  and the South Tyrolean People’s Party (SVP) – they are both members of the umbrella organisation of the minorities in Europe, FUEN.

Anke Spoorendonk: Anke Spoorendonk is member of the Danish minority in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. When SSW, the party of the Danish minority, came into government, Spoorendonk became Justice, Europe and Culture Minister in the Albig Cabinet. (

FUEN: The Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN) is an umbrella organisation for around 90 member organisations that represent autochthonous, national minorities in Europe. FUEN has its office in Flensburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. (

RMDSZ: The Democratic Alliance of the Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) represents the Hungarian community and is an important political power in Romania; over the past 20 years RMDSZ has been represented in the Romanian governments and in the European Parliament. (

SVP: The South Tyrolean People’s Party (SVP) is a regional party and collective movement that politically represents the German and Ladin population in South Tyrol and in Italy. SVP is represented in the Italian parliament and in the European Parliament. (

YEN: The Youth of European Nationalities (YEN) is the largest youth organisation of the national minorities and comprises 40 member organisations. ( 

Photo: FUEN