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Court decision against the Minority SafePack initiative

More than one million signatures were ignored

The Society for Threatened Peoples has criticized the European General Court for deciding against the Minority SafePack initiative. “The disappointing decision allows the states of the EU to continue ignoring their minority groups and to simply accept that they are dying out,” criticized Roman Kühn, Director of the STP, in Berlin on Thursday. “Actually, despite the statements of the EU Commission and the EGC, the current measures and possibilities are by far not enough to preserve Europe’s diversity. On the contrary: the example of Poland shows how a single minority – people of German origin – are discriminated against by cutting back German lessons in schools. This happened because the Polish government was annoyed about Germany’s positions in the EU.”

More than one million people from various states of the EU had joined the initiative, which had published suggestions on how the EU could have protected and furthered cultural and linguistic diversity. This included measures to support smaller linguistic minorities, equal rights for stateless minority groups such as the Roma, the founding of a center for linguistic diversity, as well as research projects on how the EU benefits from its minority groups. The protection of ethnic minorities and the further development of cultural and linguistic diversity in Europe were supposed to become specific goals of the EU funds for regional development. “Apparently, the commission does not understand the chances of such an initiative. Instead, it ducked away from the explosive nature of the topic of minorities. Most recently, Putin had instrumentalized this issue to justify his internationally wrongful war of aggression against Ukraine,” Kühn emphasized.

The Federal Union of European Nationalities, the umbrella organization for various European minority groups, had initiated the SafePack procedure in 2011. Finally, the EU Commission had demanded one million signatures in support of the project – to be collected within one year – and set minimum figures that had to be reached in 7 states. The requirements were met in 11 states. In January of 2020, the initiative presented around 1,1 million signatures to the commission, upon which it stated that it was already doing enough to protect minority groups. “Thus, the EU is leading the only instrument of direct participation ad absurdum, showing the people of the EU that their concerns are not important and that initiatives will not bear fruit. This will ultimately help the enemies of democracy,” Kühn added.