2010. 06. 18.
Top of the agenda was the draft report on minorities of the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA). The importance of this document is significant, because this is the first official analysis in this topic having been prepared by the European Parliament and the Fundamental Rights Agency. Mr Kjaerum who presented the report to MEPs, also discussed how the Lisbon Treaty and the Charter of Fundamental Rights has helped to augment rights and put the term ‘national minority’ into EU law for the first time.
After having welcomed the report, Ms Gál, discussed the Intergroup’s role which is to represent national minorities at EU level, and to establish institutional co-operation on the issues together with constantly raising awareness in this matter all over Europe. The MEP also suggested that in order to prepare even more detailed reports in the future, the Intergroup shall support the Agency’s work by offering the professional and local experience of its colleagues.
The various questions and comments from MEPs focused on the problems of Europe’s traditional national and linguistic minorities with a general view being that they should be treated distinctly in order to serve their interests better. According to Intergroup MEPs, treating national minorities under a broad ‘minorities’ umbrella has a tendency to blur the specific issues affecting the different kinds of minority less advantageously, and may lead to unsatisfactory solutions. One suggestion was to have a specific FRA national and linguistic minority report.
Dr. Gabriel Toggenburg, FRA Programme Manager for Research, agreed that categories should not be mixed up and discussed the “obligation of protection” for the EU and member states towards their national minorities. Morten Kjaerum welcomed the MEPs contributions and looked forward to working with the Intergroup in the future.