The Szekler National Council’s (SZNT) signature drive, aimed at ensuring European Union protection for ethnic regions, is on the brink of success. The campaign team only needs a couple of thousand more signatures, just over a week before the deadline.
The initiative aims to convince the European Commission to create a policy that instead of directing cohesion funds to national governments alone, would allocate some of the transfers directly to ‘ethno-regions’ in order to help them develop their infrastructures and thereby preserve their linguistic and cultural heritage.
SZNT’s signature drive and campaign were initiated in May 2019, and its deadline has been extended twice due to the pandemic. Currently, it is set to February 7, 2021.
The petition can only be discussed in the European Parliament if one million signatures are collected from seven member countries, and these amount to at least 750 times the number of MEPs from each country. The first condition has long been fulfilled but the threshold has been reached in only six member states so far, most recently in Sweden. To succeed, the required number of signatures must be collected in at least one more country.
Fortunately, there are three states where the number of signatures is close to the threshold. In Latvia, 2,700 of the 6,000 petitions have been collected, in Slovenia 4,648 out of 6,000. Spain is the closest to success with 95% of the supporting statements already collected.
Should be successful, the European Parliament must discuss the issue. If adopted it would then be sent to the EC for legislation.
But the Commission not long ago already rejected an initiative trying to protect the rights of minorities.
Despite more than one million signatures collected across Europe, the Minority SafePack citizens’ initiative urging EU protection for indigenous national minorities in the bloc was rejected by the EC.
Featured photo illustration by Tamás Sóki/MTI