What can the European Union do to ensure that its minorities enjoy better rights? “It is the EU’s damned duty that the results of conferences like this do not end up in the dustbin of European history”, said Karl-Heinz Lambertz at the Conference on the Future of Europe organised by FUEN in Flensburg/Flensborg on 28 March. The President of the Parliament of Ostbelgien (the Parliament of Germans in Belgium) does not believe that a universal solution exists: “I think it is an illusion that we will ever find a ready-made model for minorities that will solve all our problems”. And this is why it is of high importance that representatives of the minorities come together at events like this and formulate together their requests and asprirations.
The Conference on the Future of Europe is a widespread campaign for citizen participation. The aim: to let Europeans actively shape EU policy. What ideas do they have for their Europe of the future? After the rejected Minority SafePack Initiative, FUEN sees this as a welcome opportunity to raise the voice of minorities again. At the event in Flensburg, the “Future Manifesto” was presented – eight concrete wishes and demands of the European minorities for their Europe of the future. The spectrum ranges from tangible political frameworks for the protection of minorities to the abolition of geo-blocking and the establishment of a centre for linguistic diversity. A clear work order to the EU on how minority rights can remain more than just an empty phrase and be implemented concretely.
The location of the conference was carefully chosen: The German-Danish borderland serves as a best-practice model of lived diversity and cooperation after historical divides have been overcome.
“Actually, the EU itself should fight for better minority protection, after all it is at the core of European values,” said FUEN President MEP Loránt Vincze. But if the Commission does not do this, then “the contribution we can make is to organise conferences like this and convince people that this is the right thing to do and that these European values will be important not only today but also in the future”.