Romania is not particularly tolerant of minority languages, pointed out the expert committee set up by the Council of Europe to oversee the application of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages on Tuesday. This standpoint was cited by Botond Csoma, faction leader of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (known by its Hungarian acronym of RMDSZ) in the House of Representatives of the Romanian Parliament, who is attending the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg (June 21–24) as a member of the Romanian delegation.
At a Tuesday meeting of the Subcommittee on Minority Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council, the RMDSZ MP presented the legal obstacles and practical difficulties concerning the use of minority languages in Romania.
As Csoma told the maszol.ro news portal, one of the main topics on the agenda of the sub-committee was to analyze the implementation of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages by EU member states. The politician recounted that in response to his report, the chairman of the committee of experts determined that it is not in accordance with the spirit of the Charter to link a minority’s right to use its mother tongue to its proportion in the population. According to Romanian Administrative Law, the threshold is 20 percent.
“This is not particularly tolerant of minority languages, according to the chairman of the committee. Instead, the use of one’s mother tongue should be ensured in all settlements where a ‘significant minority’ lives. I believe that this is a very clear position on the part of the committee of experts, which is a respectable body, set up to examine the implementation of the Charter in the member states,” emphasized the RMDSZ faction leader.
Csoma also noted that Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó had stated on Monday that during the Hungarian presidency of the Council of Europe (May 2021 to November 2021), Hungary would treat the issue of national minorities as a priority and plans to keep this topic on the agenda for these six months.
“The Charter makes recommendations, but negotiations must be held with all member states to adhere to the spirit of this convention. The fact that the Hungarian Presidency treats the issue of minority language rights as a priority and makes it a topic of discussion in the Council may provide an opportunity to have more emphatic discussions with the member states,” declared Szijjártó on Monday. As he said, he hopes that the issue will be kept on the agenda even after the term of the Hungarian presidency ends and that EU member states will have a better insight into the matters concerning minority rights and be convinced that the use of minority languages is not against the interests of majority nations.
Title image: RMDSZ faction leader in the Chamber of Deputies, Botond Csoma has been attending the session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council. On Tuesday, he presented a report on the legal obstacles and practical difficulties concerning the use of minority languages in Romania to a committee of experts.
Source: Botond Csoma/Facebook