Linguistic Diversity clause; Netherlands ratifies Constitution (fwd)

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Sat Feb 26 15:50:16 UTC 2005

Committee of the Regions backs Culture 2007 plan, but calls for linguistic
diversity clause
Davyth Hicks in Bruxelles/ Brussel 2/24/2005

At the Committee of the Regions plenary session in Brussels on Wednesday
the organisation supported Welsh Assembly member Rosemary Butlers (PES/UK)
call for the European Parliament and the Council to support the
Commissions Culture 2007 programme. Culture 2007 is a new funding
programme for European cultural cooperation, built around three
objectives: mobility for artists, mobility of works together with
inter-cultural dialogue.

However, Ms Butler expressed her concerns about cultural diversity,
insisting that the text for Culture 2007, should refer to the need to
safeguard and promote linguistic diversity, notably lesser-used and
regional and minority languages, which is not the case in the current

Rosemary Butler suggests that reference also be made in the document to
the role of local and regional authorities in promoting and celebrating
the culture of their communities, and calls for Culture 2007 to promote
the participation of regional and local authorities in the programme.
Activities should be "focused at local and regional level rather than
major, large-scale projects."

In her speech Ms Butler commented that, with the accession of ten new
member states in May last year, the EU is becoming increasingly culturally
diverse. A European cultural co-operation programme is therefore more
important than ever if we are to build mutual trust and understanding
between the peoples of Europe. (Eurolang  2005)

The Netherlands ratifies the Framework Convention for the Protection of
National Minorities
Simone Klinge in Strassburg/ Strasbourg 2/24/2005

On February 16th, the Netherlands ratified the Framework Convention for
the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM).

The Netherlands Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe,
Ambassador Johannes C. Landmann handed the instrument of acceptance of the
Framework Convention to the Council of Europes Secretary General, Terry

The declaration, only made public on Tuesday, states that The Kingdom of
the Netherlands will apply the Framework Convention to the Frisians.
However, it makes no mention of the 5, 000 Sinti and Roma people in the
Netherlands, who will not benefit from FCNM protection.

The FCNM, which is the first legally binding multilateral agreement for
the protection of national minorities, is already in force in thirty-six
Council of Europe member states and has been signed by a further six.

Of the 46 member states of the Council of Europe, Turkey, Monaco, Andorra
and France are the only countries that have so far not even signed the

By accepting the FCNM, the state is obliged to respect and implement a
number of principles, including guarantees regarding minority languages in
dealings with administrative authorities and in the field of education.

The FCNM will enter into force in the Netherlands on 1st June 2005.

Speaking to Eurolang, Frisian language planner Mr Alex Riemersma said
that, The formal recognition of the Frisian being the only national
minority in the Netherlands is fully in line with the ratification of the
European Charter on Regional and Minority Languages. The Frisian language
is the only language to have been recognised in Part III of the Charter.
This is in line with the status of Frisian being the "second official
language of the Netherlands", an expression in official use since 1970.
(Eurolang  2005)

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