The European Commission should take specific steps to support the continent’s ethnic minority groups, Hungary’s MEPs said in a European Parliamentary debate on Minority SafePack, an initiative urging EU protection for indigenous national minorities in the bloc, on Monday.
Kinga Gál, an MEP for Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party, said in a statement that it was time to guarantee the protection of minority rights at European level.
The initiative gives the bloc’s national minority groups the chance to express their need for protection in unison, she said.
Gál said she had turned to the European Commission on numerous occasions when the continent’s indigenous minorities faced some form of discrimination either in education, the use of their mother tongue or when they were the targets of hate speech.
But while the commission has declared 15 times in writing in recent years that cases of discrimination against minorities fall under national competences on the basis of the principle of subsidiarity, “it does not bother with observing this principle in other matters,” she said.
Gál said it was time for the EC to “put aside the use of double standards” and stand up for the protection of Europe’s indigenous national minorities. “After numerous empty replies, I want to see the commission put specific proposals on the table,” the MEP said.
Márton Gyöngyösi of opposition Jobbik welcomed that the EP was preparing to create a legal foundation for the protection of Europe’s 60 million indigenous minority citizens. “The territories of member states today are protected by international law, and it is time for every single minority to have equal rights regardless of the member state they live in,” he said.
Anna Donáth of the opposition Momentum Movement said Europe had been holding off from taking steps towards the social inclusion of the Roma community for years, adding that certain member states were even blocking it. She said it was time for Europe to protect its minorities, not just in words but also in actions.
The Minority SafePack signature drive initiated by Romania’s ethnic Hungarian RMDSZ party and coordinated by the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN) was launched in April 2017. A total of 1,128,385 signatures were certified across the 28 EU member states over the year-long campaign. The EC registered the signatures in January this year.
In the featured photo illustration: Fidesz MEP Kinga Gál. Photo by MTI/European Parliament/Jan Van de Vel