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Towards one million signatures for diversity in Europe

From 19 until 23 June 2013 the 58th FUEN Congress will take place in Brixen, South Tyrol, Italy. With circa 200 participants we may break a popularity record.

--- read the programme

With over 90 member organisations, FUEN is the largest umbrella organisation of the autochthonous, national minorities in Europe. Three new organisations applied to become members this year: the party of Hungarian Community from Slovakia (Magyar Közösség Pártja), the party of the Western Thrace Turks from Greece (Dostluk Eşitlik Barış Partisi) and the National Breton Party from France (Strollad Breizh).

The main topics in Brixen will be:

- the benefits of autonomy and self-administration for the minorities / ethnic groups in Europe. Luis Durnwalder (South Tyrol), Jordi Pujol (Catalania), Annika Olsen (Faeroe Islands) and Leanne Wood (Wales), amongst others, will speak of different models of territorial and cultural autonomy / self-administration in Europe.

- the European Citizens’ Initiative of the minorities – “You are not alone! One million signatures for diversity in Europe.” The initiative will be launched with a celebration on the central square of Brixen.

“The development of the regions will for an important part determine the future of Europe. Europe has to become a genuine Europe of the regions – because otherwise the European Union will fail”, says FUEN President Hans Heinrich Hansen. He is backed up by FUEN Vice President Martha Stocker from South Tyrol: “If the states in Europe do not understand that they have to guarantee strong autonomy for their regions, then they will endanger their own position. We should make clear that more competences have to be given to the regions and to the European institutions. The regions want to and are best-placed to determine their own affairs.”

The European minorities and ethnic groups are not well-enough taken into account within the European multilevel system, is the clear message of FUEN to the national governments and to the European Commission in Brussels. Some states are at risk of backpedalling from already realised minority protection standards. Cultural and linguistic diversity, as emphasised in the Lisbon Treaty, is given only marginal attention where it comes to the regional and minority languages.

FUEN will, together with its member organisations, collect one million signatures within one year, and so oblige the European Union to become actively involved in the dialogue about improving the participation of the European minorities and the regional and minority languages. The action will not be limited to the European Union alone. “We need a wake-up call for Europe as a whole. The autochthonous minorities must become a priority again”, says FUEN President Hans Heinrich Hansen.

Another highlight will be the regular elections; also the FUEN President stands for election. The FUEN Member Organisations furthermore are called upon to adopt the “Programmatic Declaration”, which defines substantive demands with a view to the upcoming 2014 elections for the European Parliament.