More than 1,215,000 European Union citizens have signed the Minority SafePack European Citizens’ Initiative which seeks European Union protection for indigenous national minorities in the bloc, founders of the initiative said on Wednesday.
The signature collection ended at midnight on Tuesday and the chairman of the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN) announced the final results in Flensburg, Germany. The event was also broadcast live at the headquarters of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) in Cluj-Napoca (Kolozsvár) in Transylvania.
Minority Safepack was the largest scheme ever launched to promote minority rights, said President of FUEN Lóránt Vincze. He added that official EU bodies have obligations not only towards the majority but to minorities, too.
Vincze shared the process of the next few months: the final figures are not yet available because the exact number of signatures submitted on paper is still being calculated. Once the signatures are counted, they will be submitted to the authorities in every participating country during the next few days and the authorities will have three months to check them. This will be followed by another three-month period during which the results will be discussed at various European forums.
However all European capitals will already have to take the results of the initiative seriously, put good practices in force and equal rights must be ensured for all minorities as well, said Vincze. RMDSZ chairman Hunor Kelemen, who was a member of the initiating committee, noted that over 303,000 signatures were collected in Romania and his party’s activists helped to organize the campaign in 13 other countries. He said the European Commission would most likely deal with the issue after the 2019 European Parliamentary elections, and the main task in the upcoming period would be to convince decision-makers that the proposed regulations are not aimed against anyone. He said:
We do not wish to take away anything from anyone but want to contribute to the future of Europe.
The initiative, organised by FUEN, began in April last year. As the SafePack is officially a European Citizens’ Initiative, they had to collect 1 million signatures from European supporters in order to receive an official response tot the proposal from the European Commission.