EU court rejects Romanian attempt to block Minority SafePack

The European Union’s general court rejected on Tuesday Romania’s appeal to block a citizen’s Minority SafePack initiative to raise minority protection to a European level, Courthouse News Service reported.

The Minority SafePack Initiative, protecting indigenous national and linguistic minorities and their cultural heritages, was originally launched in 2013. But at the time, the European Commission refused to register it, prompting the organizers to appeal to the European General Court.

The court allowed the initiative to proceed in 2017, but then Romania also appealed to the court soon afterwards, asking it to scrap the initiative. The court has now ruled that the European Commission had the authority to register the initiative and gave sufficient reasons for doing so.

“After a series of court losses, Romania must seriously consider what is in its best interest: to be isolated within Europe by rejecting a European-level solution for minority issues or to support it in the future, accepting the fact that neither (national) majorities nor states stand to lose anything should the EU take measures to protect minority languages and cultures,” said MEP Loránt Vincze, president of the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN) and Europe-wide coordinator for gathering the signatures.

Under EU law, citizens have the right to launch initiatives asking the commission to propose legislation of interest to them. Once an initiative has been registered, organizers have a year to collect at least one million signatures of citizens from at least a quarter of the EU’s 28 member states. Once the signatures are in, the commission then either proposes the law to EU lawmakers or rejects the petition, but it must justify its decision either way.

The Minority SafePack Initiative was eventually supported by 1,128,385 signatures and submitted to the European Commission in December 2018.

Title image: Minority SafePack initiative

Author: Dénes Albert