The Minority SafePack Initiative asking for EU level protection and support for minority rights has grown to be a movement which has swept through Europe and engaged a multitude of minority protection organisations across the continent, many of which are not even members of the FUEN. More and more of them are joining in every day as we approach the finish line for this initiative as they all want to be a part of the winning team – stated the president of the Federal Union of European Nationalities, Loránt Vincze in Brussels on Wednesday, during the grand opening of the FUEN Europe Office in the EU capital. Loránt Vincze announced, that the national threshold for the minimum amount of statements of support needed in one country has been now reached in eight Member States – Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Latvia, Spain, Denmark, Croatia and Bulgaria – , but that this does not mean we can start celebrating the success of the initiative just yet as 70.000 signatures still need to be collected.
The president of the FUEN said, the question about the future of the European Union has been raised in Brussels, and the minorities of Europe are ready to give an answer about the kind of Europe they wish to have. „We wish for an EU which regards autochthonous national minorities as communities that make the continent richer. We want a Europe which values and protects minorities, this is the kind of Europe we aim to have”, he pointed out.
Members of Parliament representing the Hungarian minority in Romania, the first state to pass the national threshold were present at the opening event. „The results we have today could not have been possible without your help, without the RMDSZ”, Vincze thanked them, adding that the fact that they were the first ones to start the petition campaign gave other minorities in Europe hope and an example to follow.
President of the RMDSZ, Hunor Kelemen was also present at the event and stated: „We want the people belonging to an autochthonous national minority living in a formerly communist country to have the same rights Germans in South-Tyrol or Ostbelgien enjoy. The Hungarians in Romania regard Western Europe as an example to be followed in terms of subsidiarity, autonomy of regions, or community rights. We want to put communism, and everything we have inherited from it, in our past.”
As a member of the Citizen’s Committee which initiated the Minority SafePack, Kelemen pointed out that they knew from the very beginning that this was not going to be an easy win, but that if they had not started it at all, there would have not been a chance to punch a gap in the wall of indifference surrounding minority issues and widen it bit by bit with each statement of support. “The European Union has the duty to ensure that every one of its citizens feels at home in the country they live in, and that they have the means to preserve their culture, language and identity. It is our duty to convince the European Commission, Member States, state leaders and majority communities in Eastern Europe that we are not the enemy and that we want to take away nothing from no one by preserving our own cultures”, concluded Hunor Kelemen.
The new office of the Federal Union of European Nationalities, is located in a beautiful Art Nouveau style building, offered to the minority umbrella organisation by the German speaking community in Belgium. Yves Kreins, host and representative of Ostbelgien stated that they are very pleased to grant the space to be used for this cause: “Even though we are a small community of 57 thousand people, I believe we are a fortunate minority in Europe. We are a strong community and we can make our voices heard in the country we were born in as we have our own parliament. The Germans in Ostbelgien want all autochthonous minorities in Europe to enjoy the right to live and preserve their cultures, and we are very pleased to grant this space to the FUEN and the cause they are pioneering ”, he said.
Representatives of several of the Member States and minority communities that have actively engaged in the petition campaign were present at the event, including Hungarian MEP from Slovakia Pál Csáky, and MEP Herbert Dorfmann from South-Tyrol, where the petition campaign is still in full speed, and representatives of partner organisations. FUEN Vice President Gösta Toft, a representative of the German minority in Denmark also addressed the participants of the event thanking everyone for the remarkable common effort they made during the signature gathering campaign. As a closing remark President Loránt Vincze stressed the importance of FUEN having a presence and a way to lobby in Brussels as all of the projects of the European minority umbrella organisation are related to the European Union.
The statement of support for the Minority SafePack can be signed HERE until April the 3rd.