With more than 6,000 signatures having arrived by Saturday night, Latvia is the ninth country to meet the required threshold for the Szekler National Council’s (SZNT) national regions initiative, reports SZNT. With all requirements being met by the February 7 deadline, the issue will now be considered by the European Parliament.
SZNT’s initiative for the protection of ethnic regions in the European Union required at least one million signatures total, and signature minimums to be met in at least seven EU member states.
In their Saturday night Facebook post, SZNT thanked the Latvian Russian Union party and its two co-presidents, Tatjana Ždanoka and Miroslav Mitrofanov, for helping spread the movement around Latvia’s Russian minority.
László Pesty, the national regions initiative’s campaign manager, travelled to Latvia to bolster support for the cause, seeing that it was the most promising in terms of signatures. Support was found especially among Latvian MotoGP influencers, who were able to encourage their supporters to sign the petition.
The amount of signatures noticeably increased after Pesty’s team visited Riga.
The purpose of the petition is to call on the European Commission to legislate the allocation of cohesion funds directly to ‘ethno-regions’ throughout Europe, instead of national governments, to directly help these minorities, develop their infrastructure and preserve their linguistic and cultural heritage.
With more than the required number of signatures from nine EU member states, SZNT’s signature drive has closed on February 7 as a success. Now it is up to the leaders of the European Union to discuss the topic of ethnic regions, and potentially bring new legislation around the issue.
In the featured photo, Tivadar Jakab and Zsófia Zsók step out of voting booths in Bukovinian Szekler attire at the voting station in Kakasd on May 26 2019. Featured photo by Tamás Sóki/MTI