MEPs call for EU rules to better protect minorities’ rights

UNHCR/L. Taylor Young forcibly-displaced Roma from south-east Europe. Many have no citizenship which affects their daily lives.

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.


In the face of persistent discrimination, Parliament calls for common rules to ensure that the rights of all national minorities are redressed and respected across the EU.

In the face of persistent discrimination, Parliament calls for common rules to ensure that the rights of all national minorities are redressed and respected across the EU.

MEPs call on the European Commission to draft a directive on minimum standards for minorities in the EU, including benchmarks and measures to stop member states discriminating against minorities.

In a non-legislative resolution adopted on Tuesday with 489 votes to 112 and 73 abstentions, MEPs also call for a common definition of minorities and recommend adopting the definition set out in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

MEPs stress that EU countries need to ensure equal cultural, linguistic and educational rights to the 8 % of EU citizens who belong to national minorities across the EU. In their resolution, they highlight the need for an EU system to protect minorities that should be accompanied by an assessment of member states policies’ in this field.

Rights of Roma people

The resolution voices deep concern over the number of stateless Roma people in Europe, who are often pushed to marginalisation. MEPs call on EU countries to end statelessness and guarantee that this minority group fully enjoys fundamental human rights.

Protection and promotion of minority languages

MEPs highlight the importance of protecting and promoting regional and minority languages. Around 10 % of the population in the EU currently speak minority languages. The text calls on the European Commission and EU countries to set up measures to make sure that regional and minority languages are present in education systems and media.

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Rapporteur Jozsef Nagy (EPP, SK) said: “Our most important aim is to reduce hate speech and the problems which result from it. All European citizens should be able to use their mother tongue without any fear in the street and in public spaces. We would like to build bridges between majority and minority cultures, so that they can accept and support each other. The EU needs to respect its linguistic and cultural diversity”.

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