Csaba Sógor: Years of minority protection activity starts to show results
The European Parliament is preparing a significant move to protect minorities: it would start to develop a mandatory European framework. At the LIBE committee hearing on this topic, Csaba Sógor presented the Romanian situation and warned that currently the protection of minorities in the EU is subject to the goodwill of Member States.
A LIBE committee report is getting prepared, which would be a first move to lay down minimum standards in the protection of minorities. According to the RMDSZ MEP, this report can be interpreted as a result of 10 years of work of the European Parliament and the Council of Europe on this field. Csaba Sógor has contributed with various amendments to the draft report, in order to elaborate the document in the most comprehensive way. On the September 3 public hearing, the MEP’s discussed the draft report with the intention of involving experts and interest groups in the work of the Committee.
At the meeting, Csaba Sógor drew the attention to the fact that although the EU monitorizes the situation of minority rights in candidate member states in the process of accession, there’s no giving account after becoming a member state. “European national minorities fell into a trap, which can only be escaped from with the support of the European Union” - argued the MEP, who reported at large about the violations in Romania. He evaluated the situation: following the accession, the Romanian governments that followed considered the implementation of minority rights to be optional, they tried to prevent the operation of minority language schools and the restitution of private properties with many tools, they began to re-nationalize church buildings of the minority community, not to mention minority leaders are regularly harassed for using national symbols and hate speech against minorities is tolerated in the media.
According to Csaba Sógor, we must take action against the practice that slowly became the new reality: member states regularly fail to implement the resolutions and recommendations of the Council of Europe regarding the protection of minorities. Fundamental rights of minorities can only be enforced through the EU with the help of a common minority protection system of high standards, along with an effective monitorizing mechanism. “The ongoing European Parliament report could be a big step. We would like the final report to specify that the European minority protection framework is to be considered a minimum standard”- highlighted the MEP.
The European Parliament’s LIBE Committee will vote in September on the report on minimum standards for minorities in the EU, and the Committee proposal will get in front of the plenary before the end of this year.