The petition drive for the European Citizens’ Initiative on protecting national regions continues. The main goal right now is to gather the required number of signatures in four more EU member countries, as this is needed for the initiative to succeed. Once it is done, the remaining objective will be to collect another one million singatures which could increase the “lobbying power of the Szekler petition” in Brussels, head of the initiative’s campaigning team told public broadcaster M1.
László Pesty noted that over the last week the number of signatories finally started to drastically increase in Spain. He is hopeful that the numbers in Croatia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Ireland, and Austria will begin to rise in the next few days as well.
He also revealed that a new initiative will be added to the campaign, asking people to write the official website’s name: signiteurope.com on a simple cardboard sheet, then take a selfie and share the picture on social media.
The campaigning team has already produced special campaign materials in the languages of local ethnic minorities in several EU countries; they even asked three-time Olympic champion Katinka Hosszú to be the face of their signature drive in Spain, which is possibly the main reason the number of signatures showed a significant surge there.
The initiative aims to convince the European Commission to create a policy that instead of directing cohesion funds to national governments alone, allocates some of the transfers directly to ‘ethno-regions’ in order to help them develop their infrastructure and thereby preserve their linguistic and cultural heritage.
According to the rules, in order for the petition to be discussed in the European Parliament, the one million signatures should be collected from seven member countries and should amount to at least 750 times the number of MEPs from each country. Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania have fulfilled those numbers, but no other member country is near the threshold.
If you agree with the goal of the initiative and want the EU to help and pay special attention to regions with national, ethnic, cultural, religious, or linguistic characteristics that are different from those of the surrounding regions, you can sign the petition online by clicking here.
The deadline for the signature drive is November 7th.
Featured photo illustration by Nándor Veres/MTI