Feb 24, 2015

European Parliament Conference: Language, Identity and Power: What Future for Minority Languages in Europe?

Csaba Sógor (EPP), Herbert Dorfmann (EPP) and Jill Evans (EFA/Greens) MEPs, in coordination with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), the European Free Alliance (EFA) and the Centre Maurits Coppieters (CMC) will be convening a conference entitled "Language, Identity and Power: What Future for Minority Languages in Europe?” at the European Parliament on 24 February 2015. 

The European Union currently has 28 Member States and 24 official languages, some of which are spoken in more than one State. Some EU Members have two or more official languages, a few of which are officially in use in specific regions, in accordance with the geographical locations of the corresponding minorities. Additionally, there are more than 60 regional or minority languages, which are spoken by around 50 million people in the EU.

It is very difficult to generalise or to define the best way to protect a language, as the specific arrangements have different histories and explanations.

Today, one of the aims of the Council of Europe is the protection and promotion of diversity of Europe’s regional and minority languages, which its Member States also affirmed in the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

Nonetheless, Europe is far from being a utopia for many linguistic minorities and problems remain: several languages face extinction and in some cases, language is used as a political tool. Although the protection of minorities is one of the criteria for accession to the EU, the Commission has not created a legal basis for the promotion and conservation of regional and lesser-used languages.

This conference aims to explore the different possible arrangements for linguistic minorities in Europe, evaluating their merits and analysing their more controversial aspects. It will look into the use of language as a political tool, but also as a cause and a possible solution to intercultural conflicts and tensions.


Practical details

The event will take place on Thursday 24 February 2015 from 9:00-11:00 at the European Parliament, room A5E-3.

It will not be possible to enter the European Parliament without accreditation.

Registrations are now closed.