The Council of Europe has a strong track record in the preservation and promotion of Europe’s languages, most notably through its legal instruments.
The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages is designed to protect and promote regional and minority languages and to enable speakers to use them both in private and public life. Currently covering 79 languages, used by 204 national minorities or linguistic groups, it obliges states party to the Charter to actively promote the use of these languages in education, courts, administration, media, culture, economic and social life, and cross-border co-operation. Together with the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the Charter constitutes the Council of Europe's strong commitment to the protection of national minorities.
More than half of the member states of the European Union officially recognise regional or minority languages within their borders for legal or administrative purposes and it is estimated that there are over 50 million speakers of RMLs.
Within the context of its 2023 cooperation action with the European Commission, the European Centre for Modern Languages will organise a colloquium on 7th November 2023 focusing on Regional and minority languages within a plurilingual context. This stock-taking event will focus on educational practice in contexts where RMLs are prevalent. It will highlight examples of practice where regional and minority languages are part of the curriculum and/or a language of schooling - which are potentially transferable/adaptable to other contexts. The event will primarily address pedagogical aspects in relation to curricula, teacher education and classroom practice and look at the further support required by the professional community in this area.
The colloquium takes place against the backdrop of the 2022 Council of Europe Recommendation on the importance of plurilingual and intercultural education for democratic culture and will draw upon the Council’s wide expertise on RMLs. The event will take full account of the work already conducted both by the Council and the European Commission in this area, as well as the concerns expressed within the Minority Safepack initiative with regard to the sharing of good practice among European educational systems.
The colloquium will involve nominated representatives from the 38 member states of the ECML and the European Union, as well as key networks and associations active in this area.