Minority rights / Intergruop for traditional minorities, national communities and languages

Intergroup for Traditional Minorities, National Communities and Languages

The EP Minority Intergroup adopted a resolution in the Mikó Case
At its meeting in Strasbourg on Thursday the European Parliament’s Traditional Minorities, National Communities and Languages Intergroup adopted a resolution and showed its solidarity with regard to the case of the Székely Mikó High School and the protests of the Hungarian minority in Romania.

MEPs Gyula Winkler and Csaba Sógor (DAHR, EPP) presented the situation that emerged after the renationalization of the Székely Mikó High School’s building owned by the Reformed Church of Transylvania.

Gyula Winkler presented DAHR’s administrative actions in this field and mentioned that DAHR’s MEPs also wrote a letter to Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. The MEP talked about the violation of the Reformed Church’s rights following the second nationalization of its property in Sfântu Gheorghe and called attention to the court ruling against three persons who merely applied the law in the matter.

DAHR’s MEP also spoke about the process of restitution of the nationalized properties of the Hungarian community in Transylvania and the historical churches: Romania has committed itself to this process since it is part of the Copenhagen Criteria. “The restitution process of the properties belonging to the Hungarian community and the historical churches nationalized by the communist regime is lengthy and cumbersome, and presently seems to have come to a halt. (…) DAHR has committed itself to use any democratic and administrative means necessary, in Brussels and in Bucharest, in order to restart this process and also to find a rightful solution to the situation in Sfântu Gheorghe. We consider the renationalization of the building an attack on the Hungarian community because it creates a dangerous precedent with regard to the respect of property” – stated Gyula Winkler.

DAHR MEP called the first-degree criminal conviction of the three members of the Romanian restitution committee, including former secretary of state Attila Markó outright “kafkaesque”. Gyula Winkler showed that the members of the committee have been sentenced by the court for the application of the provisions of the laws in force at the moment and the restitution of the building of the Székely Mikó High School. This ruling contradicts a 2006 ruling of the same court that reinforces the property rights of the Reformed Church over the building.

DAHR’s MEP Csaba Sógor talked about the lengthy process of the restitution of properties that belonged to the Transylvanian churches and have been nationalized during the communist regime. The Hungarian MEP from Transylvania showed that only 35 percent of the buildings falling under the provisions of law no. 501/2002 have been restituted during the last 10 years.

Csaba Sógor explained that the ruling in the Mikó case can be considered an attack against the Hungarian community and a clear intent of halting the restitution process since there have already been government level attempts to eliminate the right to in kind restitutions. The legislative proposal was taken off the table at the pressure of DAHR. The Hungarian MEP from Transylvania also presented the foreseeable consequences of the Mikó case: “Not all localities that have restituted buildings are governed by Hungarians. This ruling sets the basis for the same kind of renationalization everywhere. (…) There are several hundred such buildings in the country, many of them housing educational institutions. These are all in danger now, since not only school buildings may be renationalized, but all the other restituted buildings as well.” – said Csaba Sógor.

The members of the EP’s Minority Intergroup agreed upon the fact that Brussels and the European Commission needs to stop using a double standard with regard to the problems of national minorities living in the member states. The MEPs present decided to support DAHR actions to resume and speed up the process of restitution of nationalized properties in Romania.

The members of the intergroup see the Mikó case as worrisome with regard to the rule of law in Romania, especially in the context of recent political events in Bucharest. The subject has been debated on the plenary session of the EP as well.

The Resolution can be accessed here.

Csaba Sógor calls for increased support of multilingualism
2012. 07.13

DAHR’s MEP Csaba Sógor addressed a letter to Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. In his letter the MEP saluted the Erasmus for All initiative highlighting the measures that support the use of languages and multilingualism.

Referring to the NGO Platform for Multilingualism Report, Csaba Sógor stated that multilingualism and language learning is a key element in acquiring basic skills and increasing employment. These can be tools for the EU in creating jobs and ensuring growth.

As a member of the EP’s Minority Intergroup, the Hungarian MEP from Transylvania saluted the protection of Europe’s regional and minority languages through six of the Erasmus for All programme’s goals that make the enhancement of linguistic diversity the main element of the programme.

Making reference to the conclusions of the Council of the European Union from November 2011 (http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/educ/126373.pdf), Csaba Sógor called for the European programme level support for lesser used languages, as well as for learning languages from neighboring countries so that they spur economic and cultural exchanges between citizens.

The MEP reminded commissioner Vassiliou that speakers of minority or regional languages represent 10% of the entire population of the EU, and urged that future EU programs include budgetary lines for the promotion of the use of minority and regional languages.

- The European Commission policy on multilingualism is a cornerstone of the EU’s success story. The civil society had an important role in this achievement. Language learning is one of the means that can help in recovering from the current complex crisis, so all EU institutions, but mainly the EC should support it through the coordination of all factors involved – declared Csaba Sógor.

The situation of minority language rights in France and Romania discussed in Strasbourg
2012. 05. 24.

The issue of regional and minority language use in France was the main subject of the May 24th meeting of the European Parliament’s Minority Intergroup.

The debate organized by the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages (EBLUL) took place because language rights claims became increasingly louder during the demonstrations in the regions of Bretagne, Corsica, Occitania and Alsace of France. The successful coordination is mainly the merit of the French EBLUL.

The Minority Intergroup put this debate on the agenda immediately after the French presidential elections because François Hollande included the reassuring settlement of regional and minority language rights into his election programme and made promises that France will finally ratify the European Charter of Regional and Minority Languages thus acknowledging the rights of native speakers of regional and minority languages to use these languages.

Invited speakers included specialists such as renowned French legal expert and specialist of the Council of Europe Jean-Marie Woehrling, Breton language rights activist Tangi Louarn and Occitan journalist David Grosclaude, who also acts as political advisor in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques region. Analyzing the new political situation, all three specialists agreed that speakers of minority languages in France hopefully await the ratification of the Charter.

Upon a proposal from DAHR’s MEPs Csaba Sógor and Gyula Winkler, the next guests of the Intergroup will be Hungarian DAHR representatives from Romania who will raise awareness among MEPs dedicated to the cause of minorities about the recent, troubling events in Romania concerning the Hungarian minority.
DAHR’s MEP Csaba Sógor explained: Together with my colleague, Mr. Winkler, we asked for the subject to be put on the agenda, because through the Intergroup we want to call attention to the problems the Hungarian community in Romania is facing, hoping that these dangerous tendencies can be corrected and future negative actions prevented.

Csaba Sógor emphasized the importance of the protection of Catalan language rights
2012. 03. 19.
In its meeting held during the plenary session of the EP from last week, the European Parliament’s Intergroup for Traditional Minorities, National Communities and Languages debated several topics related to the language rights of traditional national minorities.

The agenda consisted of the presentation of several publications in the subject. First, Professor Alex Riemersma of the Mercator Research Institute presented the recently published methodological guide for the early learning of the Frisian language, followed by the editors and authors of the SVI – Südtiroler Volksgruppen-Institut, who presented their publications. The quarterly Europaisches Journal für Minderheitenfragen – IGM was presented by Dr. Beata Sybille-Pfeil, while the book presenting the South-Tyrolean culture (Südtirolismen. Erinnerungskulturen - Gegenwartsreflexionen - Zukunftvisionen) was presented by the author, Georg Grote.
Professor Riemersma devised the methodology of the Early Transmission of Linguistic Heritage through the EU funded MELT (Multilingual Early Language Transmission) program. The aim of MELT is to provide early multilingual education for children between the ages of 0 and 4, although later it was extended to children between 0 and 8 through the involvement of highly trained kindergarten teachers who also provided on-line courses. The novelty of the project is that it provides development courses not only for practicing teachers, but also for those not yet qualified who are currently conducting their studies.
Professor Riemersma did not hide the fact that the implementation of the project is set back by the lack of properly trained kindergarten teachers. He considers that this problem could be solved through the initiation of multilingual MA courses. He also feels that the Frisian authorities’ initiative needs more technical and financial support.
The interdisciplinary minority journal IGM is being published since 2008: it is a mainly scientific journal, which can be used by politicians and specialists alike. It has proven to be a great tool for researchers, professors and decision makers. The online edition has over 400 viewers.
South-Tyrolean EPP MEP Berndt Posselt suggested that the journal follow the situation of Germans in Slovenia and Albanians in Serbia as well.
DAHR’s MEP Csaba Sógor saluted the fact that the relationship between Szeklerland and South Tyrol is tightening and said that the latter should be considered a model for the implementation of linguistic rights and that its achievement should be followed by other member states as well. The MEP also called attention to the fact that, according to recent information, the use of Catalan in the public administration of the Balearic Islands is being threatened, even though it is an official language there.
Co-president of the Intergroup, MSZP MEP Csaba Tabajdi expressed his belief that the autonomy in South Tyrol had a large contribution to the economic development of the region and urged for the model to be adopted by other member states of the EU as soon as possible. On the other hand, he suggested that the relation between the economic situation of a region and the level of danger minority language rights face there should be seriously considered as a topic of research.
FIDESZ’s MEP György Schöpflin reflected on the remarks of previous speakers and said that all across Europe decision makers needed to acknowledge an awakening of minority identity.
South-Tyrolean EPP MEP Herbert Dorfmann considered that there is a need for an economic survey that explains the impact of the autonomy of the German speaking population of South Tyrol on the regions' productivity and development. 

Minority protection in the EU should be based on the model of the Roma Strategy
2012. 01. 20.

The January plenary session of the European Parliament (EP) in Strasbourg was dominated by mid-term elections inside the house. MEPs elected a new President, while the committees and working groups also changed their leader.

The former co-presidents of the Intergroup for Traditional Minorities, National Communities and Languages, Swedish liberal Carl Hagglund and Hungarian EPP member Kinga Gál handed over their mandate of co-chair to Hungarian socialist Csaba Tabajdi and Corsican French green MEP François Alfonsi. in the meeting on the 19th of January 2012. The former co-presidents presented, as an activity report, a recently edited volume on the major events in the field of minority protection, entitled "Traditional Minorities, National Communities and Languages. The issue raised in the European Parliament's Intergroup, 2009-2011, ISBN 978-963-08-3185-7, Brussels-Budapest, 2011, 71 p.

The main goal of the Intergroup for the next two years is to urge the European Commission (EC) to prepare, on the request of the European Parliament, a strategy for the protection of ethnic national minorities in Europe, based on the Roma Strategy 's model..

The guest of the meeting was Jonathan Hill, member of the cabinet of European Commissioner  Androulla Vassiliou, responsible for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. Hill presented in details the EU programme "Erasmus for All"  on education, training, youth and sport. For More information on the programme see the following link: http://ec.europa.eu/education/erasmus-for-all/doc/com_en.pdf

Erasmus for All will run between 2014 and 2020. It has a budget of over 19 billion euros, representing 2% of the entire EU budget. This complex programme opens a new chapter in the EU financing mechanism. Upon its creation, the EC strived to correlate EU programmes with flexible solutions through simple and streamlined structures in order to ensure synergy between transnational actions and structural funds, as well as national and regional measures. The main challenge of the programme lies within the means to answer multiple crisis in Europe through investment into human resources in the fields of education and training with the enforcement of the principle of mobility and strengthening of European values. Based on the express request of commissioner Vassiliou, Erasmus for All , through its conception, will put an emphasis on the importance of linguistic performance as well as linguistic  diversity.

Members of the Minority Intergroup saluted the programme, but they called the attention upon the need to support regional and minority languages and asked to take into account the needs of speakers of such languages formulated by representative regional authorities when setting the programme's details.

The EU’s credibility lies within the provision of minority rights – Csaba Sógor in Strasbourg about the minority issue
2010. 02. 13.
The question of minority rights was the topic of several debates during the February plenary session of the European Parliament. The review of language rights of the national minorities living within the borders of the EU took place at the meeting of the Intergroup for Traditional Minorities, National Communities and Languages on February 12th.

This was the first time, when  the Intergroup, lead by co-president Kinga Gál, had a discussion with the staff of newly appointed commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Viviane Reding.

Hungarian MEP from Transylvania, Csaba Sógor stated at the meeting that the Slovakian State Language Law does not protect minority rights and is beyond contradiction with the Charter for Fundamental Rights, as it is dangerous as well. The MEP considers that the law, in many respects, threatens fundamental values of the EU, such as the freedom of services and the common market as well. He suggested that if it is impossible to approach the issue from the point of view of the fundamental rights than it should be handled from a more practical standpoint.

Thanks to the devoted work of DAHR’s MEP the issues of infringement of minority rights world-wide came to the attention of the European decision-makers in the plenary that day while discussing the issues of shortcomings in the fields of human rights, democracy and rule of law.

While assessing the situation in Burma, Csaba Sógor reminded that the military junta promised to hold free elections this year. In his opinion it is very important that the international community and the EU maintain its pressure on the junta so that the promised democratic transition will really take place. All nationalities living in Burma need to be allowed to participate in the vote so that ethnic conflicts can be brought to an end.

The EU would have credibility in its actions if all its member states would respect minority rights. The EU cannot be genuine and successful while there are state language laws in the EU territory, and I’m not only thinking about Slovakia, while collective guilt can be reaffirmed, while member states attack the being, mother tongue and rights of minorities.

Minority issues are just as important as the global crisis or climate change – Csaba Sógor’s remarks at the EPP’s group meeting
2009.06. 24.
The main point on the European People’s Party’s group meeting agenda was the review of the parliamentary group’s activity between 2009-2014. MEPs attending mentioned the positive results of the recent elections: statistics prove/show that the party is the EU’s driving force because its members come from 19 states and form 36% of the European Parliament. The speakers stressed the group’s responsibility to the citizens of the EU, to the expectations of the voters and discussed the issues surrounding the presidency of European Commission as well.

DAHR’s MEP Csaba Sógor pointed out the example of the city of Strasbourg saying that no matter how expensive the Parliament’s sessions there are, the city’s multilingual inscriptions and welcoming atmosphere are all such positive examples that can reassure everyone: minorities are not to be feared, they need to be supported. This is the message of multicultural and multilingual events organized by APE as well.

The MEP also stressed the importance of the activity of the Intergroup for Traditional Minorities, National Communities and Languages in the last legislature. The Intergroup has prepared a resolution about protection of the rights of traditional, Roma and “newcomers” , meaning recently settled minorities in Europe. The document did not pass through the Parliament although the above mentioned minorities constitute almost a quarter of the EU’s population.

Csaba Sógor finally made reference to the 10 point priority system of the EPP, the list of priorities for the next five years saying that “solving the minority issues is as important as the global crisis or climate change”.

Pro Minoritate Europae – a collection of studies by the EP’s Minority Intergroup
2009. 03. 19.
The English and Hungarian language versions of the volume of studies entitled Pro Minoritate Europae was presented in Brussels on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the European Parliament’s National Minority Intergroup. The volume was edited by Hungarian MEP Csaba Tabajdi (S&D), the president of the Intergroup and its publication was supported by the political groups of the EP.

DAHR’s MEP Csaba Sógor is amongst the authors with his study on „Intercultural education and its challenges in Romania”.
The studies of the volume come mostly from the member of the Minority Intergroup. Leading politicians, such as Hans-Gert Pöttering, the President of the EP, Katalin Szili, president of the Hungarian Parliament, Kinga Göncz, Hungary’s foreign relation minister and Ján Figel, commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth prefaced the volume containing eight thematic chapters, but persons active in the field of minority rights protection, officials and independent specialists are also included.

The volume tackles the issue of the European framework for the protection of minority rights and presents the best practices and challenges of the different forms of autonomy found in the EU. An entire chapter is dedicated to the importance of language in preserving the identity of the minorities.

The Minority Intergroup’s activity, presided by Csaba Tabajdi since 2004, is presented in one chapter, followed by essays, writings and letters detailing the situation of the Hungarian community living outside the borders of Hungary. Writings about minority rights and infringement of these rights present these problems based on regions and ethnic communities.

Besides the editor, the Hungarian authors of the volume are: Edit Bauer - MEP, Gáspár Bíró – university professor, Árpád Duka-Zólyomi - MEP, Kinga Gál Kinga - MEP, Ferenc Glatz - academic, Kinga Göncz– foreign relations minister,  Péter Hantz - researcher, Magda Kósáné Kovács - MEP, Péter Kovács – constitutional court judge, university professor, Péter Olajos - MEP, Péter Göndör - diplomat, Dávid Korányi – EP specialist, József Komlóssy – minority rights activist, József Kötő – MP in the Romanian Parliament, György Schöpflin - MEP, Csaba Sógor - MEP, István Szent-Iványi - MEP,  Katalin Szili -  president of the Hungarian Parliament, László Tőkés - MEP, Balázs Vizi - researcher.

The November meeting of the Minority Intergroup in Strasbourg: Csaba Sógor speaks about the autonomy of Szeklerland
2008. 11. 21.
DAHR’s MEP Csaba Sógor attended the November meeting of the Minority Intergroup yesterday, where university professors Paul Videsott és Daniela Templari presented the autonomy claim of the Ladin minority.
According to the speakers, residents of Anpezo, Col and Fodom are trying, based on historical, cultural and linguistic arguments, to detached themselves from the Belluno and Veneto region that have a large Italian majority and adhere to the South Tirol region, where the vast majority of the Ladin community lives and minority rights are being upheld exceptionally. Their request would not change the borders of any state, it is purely and administrative reorganization that would strengthen cultural and linguistic bonds validate the Ladin minority’s rights in these towns and would strengthen the whole Ladin community’s culture and identity.

A clear message of the Ladin community’s claim for autonomy was the referendum held on 28-29 of October, 2007 where 79% of the population, including Italians, supported the proposition. Unfortunately, nothing has changed since.
University professors Paul Videsott és Daniela Templari, representing the whole Ladin community, turned to the EP in hope of seeing the result of their vote being applied based upon a recommendation from the Intergroup. The application of the vote has a purely economic impediment: the Belluno and Veneto regions do not want to renounce the three wealthy towns, but they still do not provide proper protection of minority rights.

Csaba Sógor made a parallel between the autonomy claims of the Ladin and Szekler communities emphasizing the importance of the Ladin action. The MEP praised the unitary attitude of the Ladin community that managed to win over the Italians as well and pointed out that the Ladins used constitutional methods, through which after many years of hard work, they managed to take their referendum to success. – I am confident that your autonomy will be put into practice soon – said Csaba Sógor.

Parallels between the Tibetan and Transylvanian autonomy – Joint meeting of the Minority and Tibet Intergroups in the EP
2008. 05. 25.
The EP’s Intergroups for National Minorities and Tibet held a joint meeting at last week’s plenary session of the EP in Strasbourg and discussed the opportunities of the Tibetan autonomy.
The meeting was held with the participation of Wangpo Bashi, head of the Tibetan Government-in-exile and representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Paris, who explained that the Tibetan people to not seek independence, but a truly meaningful political autonomy respecting the territorial integrity of China.

In his remarks, DAHR’s MEP Csaba Sógor made a parallel between the situation of the Tibetan and Hungarian minorities. „During their history, Hungarians in Transylvania were in various situations: state-majority nation for centuries, then beneficiaries of a real autonomy, than subjects to a formal autonomy existing only on paper, and presently, although they are part of the governing coalition, they have no form of self government.

We are more than happy to exchange our experience with our Tibetan peers and I hope that the Tibetan issue will remain not be forgotten after the Beijing Olympic Games. We need to keep the issue of autonomy on the agenda, be it Tibetan or Hungarian in Transylvania, and we will organize expositions, conferences and discussions in EP in order to achieve this” – said the MEP.

Tibet Intergroup:

Csaba Sógor greeted the Dalai Lama on behalf of the Hungarian community in Transylvania
His Holiness the Dalai Lama organized a grand ceremony in India between 1-4 September 2010 on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the Tibetan government in exile.

DAHR’s MEP Csaba Sógor received an invitation on behalf of the Tibetan Intergroup of the European Parliament (EP) to the event where guests committed to the Tibetan cause from all over the world were invited.

The event launched with a thanksgiving Buddhist ceremony praising the Dalai Lama’s non-violent efforts towards the Tibetan community’s autonomy.

More than twenty thousand people gathered in the Sera Jay monastery in Bylakkupe on September 2nd to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Tibetan democracy. MEP Csaba Sógor delivered the greetings of the Hungarian community living in Transylvania to His Holiness, the representatives of the Tibetan and Indian government and the numerous guests. In his address, the MEP noted that perseverance is the most important value of the communities living in minority status.

„We always need to find new possibilities to ensure our community’s survival and prosperity. We need to try to achieve the impossible even in the gravest circumstances” – said Csaba Sógor.

In his remarks, the MEP stated that the Hungarian community in Transylvania holds the highest regard for the Tibetan community that has been striving for human rights, democracy, freedom and autonomy for many decades. „Democracy begins where minorities have autonomy, where no death penalty is in place and disputes are settled through debate” – said Csaba Sógor about the foundations of modern democracies.

Csaba Sógor also attended the fifth annual meeting of the 133 member large International Network for parliamentarians on Tibet (INPaT). The meeting resulted in a resolution to support the revival of Tibetan settlements and the issues of human rights and self governance in Tibet. Member of INPaT also decided to call upon the Chinese government to resume talks with Tibet.

On the last day of the visit Csaba Sógor took part in the graduation ceremony of the Ngagyur Nyingma Buddhist university in the Namdroling monastery where graduates received their diplomas from the Dalai Lama himself.

After the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959 the Dalai Lama settled in the Indian town of Dharamsala. Along with his companions in exile, he has been striving for decades for freedom, peace and self governance, believing in and preparing for his return. Not long after his emigration he established the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile with monthly meetings and the Central Tibetan Administration acting as a government. Based upon the opinions of Tibetan leaders, the Dalai Lama proclaimed the constitution of the future free and independent Tibet on the 2nd of September 1960.

Fifty years of Tibetan democracy
Guests from all over the world will arrive to the event hosted by His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the fiftieth anniversary of the Tibetan democracy. The jubilee ceremony will take place in the Sera Jay monastery demolished by the Chinese in Tibet and rebuilt in India.

After the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959 the Dalai Lama settled in the Indian town of Dharamsala. Along with his companions in exile, he has been striving for decades for freedom, peace and self governance, believing in and preparing for his return. Not long after his emigration he established the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile with monthly meetings and the Central Tibetan Administration acting as a government. Based upon the opinions of Tibetan leaders, the Dalai Lama proclaimed the constitution of the future free and independent Tibet on the 2nd of September 1960.

The fiftieth anniversary of the proclamation of the constitution will be celebrated through a grand ceremony in India with the attendance of the representatives of the Tibetan government-in-exile and numerous governments and organization committed to the Tibetan cause. MEP Csaba Sógor will also attend the event on behalf of the Tibetan Intergroup of the European Parliament and will present the greetings of the Hungarian community in Transylvania.

The event closes on the 4th of September when the Dalai Lama will visit the Tibetan communities living in exile and will deliver a keynote address at the congress of the International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF).

The Tibet Intergroup of the EP met with the Dalai Lama
2008. 12. 04.

DAHR’s MEP Csaba Sógor attended the extraordinary meeting of the European Parliament’s Tibet Intergroup on Wednesday, where the guests of honor were the Dalai Lama and Samdong Rinpoche, prime-minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

Speaking on behalf of the hosts, MEP Thomas Mann, the president of the Intergroup, welcomed the high level guests and presented the Intergroup’s activity in detail. The Tibetan leaders spoke about their community’s situation and the ongoing discussions with the Chinese authorities.

The Dalai Lama emphasized that he can only imagine a peaceful, non-violent solution to the Tibetan issue. Samdong Rinpoche, the political leader of the Tibetan community, said that the government-in-exile’s most important task is to promote the Memorandum, but stated that they wish to initiate talks with the Chinese Diaspora as well and to aid Tibetans living in emigration in preserving their culture and identity.

In his remarks, MEP Csaba Sógor asked the Dalai Lama to emphasise in his speech before the House that EU institutions can tremendously help the Tibetan cause solely by establishing a precedent and through finding sustainable solutions for minorities in Europe in the field of language rights, as well as rights for cultural and territorial autonomy.

- The eastern regions of the EU, just like the regions in the west, have native, traditional national minorities that cannot use their mother tongue, that do not have cultural or territorial autonomy. Some member states are still reluctant to ratify the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages – said Csaba Sógor.

The MEP expressed the same view in the plenary session of the EP the next day, adding that “dialogue between cultures and peoples can only be achieved when everyone is allowed to freely express themselves in their native language and can practice their personal and collective rights. The EU can act effectively for the rights of minorities living in China if all its member states have an exemplary minority policy.”