“Europe’s creativity is rooted in its diversity, which should not only be preserved but also strengthened”, highlighted Foreign Minister János Martonyi in Brussels, at a conference on minorities, on 27 June 2011, at the European Parliament.
At the initiative of Kinga Gál, MEP on behalf of the European People’s Party, participants of the event, reviewed the novelties the Lisbon Treaty could bring to national and linguistic minorities.
During the conference, János Martonyi stressed: Europe’s creativity is rooted in diversity, and such diversity should not only be preserved, but also strengthened. In his speech, the Foreign Minister gave a brief summary of the Hungarian Presidency’s results, and illustrated the connection between individual and minority rights with practical examples.
The Hungarian Minister thinks the debate on whether communities and minorities have collective rights, or only a collection of individual rights could divert attention from the essentials. He thinks the two cannot be sharply separated, as certain individual rights can only be asserted in communities. The Foreign Minister highlighted on the primary condition of diversity requires the preservation of different identities. Therefore, we have to find the communities that produce different identities.
Mr Martonyi did not conceal that the EU has restricted the influence on the assertion of the collective rights of minorities, as no obligatory European norm ordains the granting of these rights. However, none prohibits it either, he added.
Participants of the conference had shed light on the real state of the European minority protection, which is rather worrying in a number of Member States. Edit Bauer, László Tőkés, Dorfman Herbert, respective MEPs from Slovakia, Transylvania and South-Tirol, as well as Tamás Korhecz, President of the Hungarian National Council in Vojvodina, stressed the importance of reconciling the existing and ever-deepening discrepancies between principles and practice. All speakers highlighted: the EU has to enhance with all available means, on the assertion of minority and linguistic rights in Member States and employable, durable solutions are needed.
László Tőkés, Vice President of the European Parliament also addressed the meeting. The Hungarian-born politician from Romania advocated, among others, the establishment of a single European minority protection system, and urged for the EU to support the forms of cultural and territorial autonomy that are yet to be established, since it was agreed by majorities and minorities.
On behalf of the European Commission, Françoise le Bail, Director-General for DG Justice, and Jan Truszczyński, Director-General for DG Education, Culture and Language, set forth the elements of the EU regulation that have reference to minority rights. The representatives of the Commission stressed: whether or not the Lisbon Treaty brings about a better regulation with fresh approaches in minority protection, it is a matter of political will.