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The application of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (2018-2020): Report by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to the Parliamentary Assembly

Author: Catherine Seewald/17 May 2021/Categories: Show on front page, Council of Europe, European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages

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The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has recently published the 10th report of the Secretary General on the application of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

The report covers the period 2018-2020. It highlights the improvements that were made to the Charter’s monitoring mechanism in 2018 and implemented by the relevant stakeholders since then. In addition, it describes how the challenges raised in the context of the public health crisis have been addressed to promote the equal rights of speakers of languages traditionally spoken in Europe. It outlines what the Council of Europe has been doing to contribute to the development of anti-discrimination policies and practices in line with the standards of the Organisation.

Among others, in the field of education, an Educational Toolkit – Classroom activities has been published in May 2019 to support teachers. The main purpose of this document (available in 16 languages) is to provide the educational community with a useful tool with which to disseminate information about the Charter and minority languages and so raise awareness of linguistic diversity.

In 2020, the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (COMEX) and the Network to Promote Linguistic Diversity (NPLD) joined all Europeans in celebrating the European Day of Languages. Their statement (see Appendix 6) underlines the importance to preserve and promote linguistic diversity, to pursue inclusion of all communities and languages, and to ensure the teaching of and in regional or minority languages.

The following challenges to be addressed by 2024 have been identified:

  • to ensure the sustainability and effectiveness of the reformed system through cooperation activities; 
  • to reconsider certain provisions of the Charter considering the digitisation in the fields of education, administration and public services, the media and culture;  
  • the place of regional or minority languages amid the exponential growth of information and communication technologies and artificial intelligence in education, media, culture, public administration and economic and social relations.

The Charter remains the only legally binding instrument that protects regional or minority languages in Europe. In addition to continuing the dialogue with the states, the Council of Europe will work with the EU, the OSCE, the UN agencies and NGOs, such as ELEN, FUEN or the NPLD, to strengthen the Charter’s place in the international system and pursue its objectives on a pan-European level.

Read the full report here.

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