The Parliament of the German-speaking Community in East Belgium calls for the protection of minorities in the EU in a resolution06.04.2022
"Democracy is not the rule of the majority, but the guardian of minorities" - with this quotation from Albert Camus, Belgian politician Robert Nelles introduced his speech in the Parliament of the German-speaking Community of East Belgium last week. What followed was a flaming plea for minority rights and solidarity with the European citizens' initiative Minority SafePack. In the end, Parliament unanimously passed a resolution calling for support for the Minority SafePack Initiative (MSPI) and pushing for the protection of minorities in the EU.
"Standing up, campaigning, collecting signatures and demanding improvements all over Europe takes a lot of commitment. How frustrating it must be when the European Commission rejects the proposals for the protection of minorities," said Robert Nelles (Christian Social Party; CSP), expressing his criticism of the rejection of the proposals last year. He stressed that with the resolution, the East Belgian parliament wants to show solidarity with others "who are currently struggling to have similar freedoms and leeway as we already know." For many things that are taken for granted there, e.g. mother-tongue teaching or filling out forms in the mother tongue, currently remain a dream for other minorities in Europe.
The President of the Parliament, Karl-Heinz Lambertz, also fully supports the demands of the MSPI and was an important pioneer of the resolution. "Protection of minorities is something defensive, it becomes forward-looking when you draw forces from it that can also generate a dynamic and have an outward effect," he said at the FUEN conference on the future of Europe, in order to emphasise the added value of minorities in a society - provided they are able to develop freely.
FUEN welcomes the support for the Minority SafePack initiative it initiated. "We are pleased about the important tailwind from Belgium. The resolution shows once again that the European Commission cannot ignore the voice expressed on behalf of 50 million Europeans belonging to national minorities and language groups," says FUEN President Loránt Vincze.
The Resolution calls on the European Commission to
- give due consideration to the proposals drawn up in the framework of a European Citizens' Initiative and submitted with the support of more than one million people
- revise its position on the MSPI and, taking into account the principle of conferral, initiate legislation and other appropriate measures to ensure and promote the protection of minorities;
- to use, in addition, the possibilities of the Open Method of Coordination to implement the proposals of the MSPI;
- in the event of a possible amendment of the European Treaties - for example following the Conference on the Future of Europe - to work towards explicitly recognising the European Union's competence and obligation for the protection of national and linguistic minorities and at the same time to clarify that this is a permanent obligation for all Member States even after their accession to the European Union;
Calls on the European Parliament to
- make use of the possibility offered by the TFEU (Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union) and call on the European Commission to submit proposals to implement the MSPI proposals;
Calls on the federal government to
- advocate in the European Council that the MSPI proposals be taken up;
- in the event of a possible amendment of the European Treaties - for example, following the Conference on the Future of Europe - to advocate in the European Council that the European Union be explicitly granted competence and obligation for the protection of national and linguistic minorities, and at the same time to make it clear that this is a permanent obligation for all Member States even after their accession to the European Union;
Calls on the government of the German-speaking Community to
- emphatically represent these demands in its contacts and in the bodies at federal and European level.
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