Raise awareness of the value of linguistic minorities for preserving European cultural diversity and multilingualism;
urges the European Commission to continue working to promote linguistic diversity by supporting the teaching of languages, particularly minority or regional ones, under various headings;
recommends that minority or regional languages become an integral part of Union policies.
The opinion on "Protecting and developing historical linguistic minorities under the Lisbon treaty" reiterates, however, that although legal developments have provided for greater protection, with due regard, of course, for the constitutional principles of the individual Member States, they do not yet constitute for the Commission a sufficient legal basis to warrant specific budget headings for historical linguistic minorities.
The opinion also recommends that Member States, who have a key role to play in language policy, show sensitivity to the linguistic diversity that exists in their countries and take the approach of developing their historical linguistic communities, in the knowledge that giving recognition to cultural heritage and all the other values they represent (history, language and cultural wealth) is conducive to peaceful coexistence and a richer European identity.
THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- emphasises the positive effects of minority languages and linguistic diversity in Europe, both for the social and cultural sphere in general and, in particular, on the people and their communities, also helping to foster creativity and innovation in the context of promoting all types of cultural heritage, to the benefit, not least, of economic development;
- underlines the growing awareness of this issue in Europe, as evidenced inter alia by the evolution of Community law, in particular the Lisbon Treaty which has introduced respect for the wealth of cultural and linguistic diversity as a key element in safeguarding and enhancing Europe's cultural heritage, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights which prohibits any form of discrimination on the basis of language or membership of a national minority;
- points to its own fundamental role, the CoR being an assembly where best practices in safeguarding and promoting minority languages and, more broadly, the culture of each linguistic minority as an expression of Europe's cultural pluralism can be collated and disseminated, to the benefit of all the historical linguistic minorities;
- calls, finally, on the Commission and the Council to take more account of the need for a specific policy on linguistic minorities that is adequately funded and underpinned by a firmer legal basis.