Milestone reached in European minority protection

2018. 02. 13.

Press release by MEPs Pál Csáky, Kinga Gál and Andrea Bocskor

“It is a resounding success that for the first time in its history, the European Parliament adopted a decision that prohibits discrimination against indigenous minorities and calls for far-reaching protection of their rights within the European Union,” said Pál Csáky, ethnic Hungarian MEP from Slovakia and the EPP rapporteur for the dossier. “Today’s EP vote marks a crowning achievement of the Hungarian efforts on nation policy,” added Fidesz MEPs Kinga Gál and Andrea Bocskor following the vote.

The resolution – which carries a much greater weight than a report — protects the identity of minorities, guarantees the enforcement of their language rights, and supports education provided in the mother tongue. In addition, it reinforces the importance of participation of minorities in public life and strongly prohibits any form of discrimination against them. The document emphasizes that these principles should also be respected in partner countries aspiring to EU membership, like Serbia and Ukraine.

“During the negotiations in the Petitions Committee, we managed to overcome the agenda of the European leftists and liberals who sought to make the adoption of the decision impossible by changing its original target group with an overemphasis on migrants, new religious groups or other minorities and sexual minorities. In this way, the document became acceptable to any Hungarian MEP with a national commitment,” said Pál Csáky, Vice-Chair of the Petitions Committee.

“The decision adopted today is a milestone in the field of European minority protection,” said Kinga Gál, EPP Co-Chair of the Minority Intergroup. “This is the tangible fruit of many years’ work and the most that is realistically possible on a decision level in the European Parliament today. However, we should take note that the leftists do everything they can to see that a decision on indigenous minorities and minority languages gets accepted only according to a broader definition of minority.”

“I am happy to see that the European Parliament has taken a formal decision that EU legislation regarding minority protection is necessary and that it acknowledges what has been a lack of EU attention to indigenous minorities,” said Andrea Bocskor, Transcarpathian Vice-Chair of the EP’s Culture and Education Committee. “The promotion of education and use of minority languages is the most important tool in our fight against language discrimination. This could best be advanced by the European Commission. I hope that the legislative process among the Member States will take place soon and will be extended to candidate and partner countries in the future.”