Mircea Diaconu solicită Comisiei Europene și Consiliului European să garanteze protecția tuturor minorităților din Europa

25 Sep 2018

Europarlamentarul Mircea Diaconu a transmis astăzi președintelui Comisiei Europene, Jean-Claude Juncker, președintelui Consiliului European, Donald Tusk, și prim-vicepreședintelui Frans Timmermans o scrisoare deschisă prin care cere elaborarea unei strategii privind protecția drepturilor minorităților entice din cadrul Uniunii Europene și a comunităților minoritare care trăiesc în țări aflate în vecinătatea UE.

Mircea Diaconu solicită constituirea unui grup de lucru paneuropean pentru drepturile minorităților și alocarea unui buget special pentru protecția acestora prin care să se asigure, între altele, monitorizarea evoluțiilor negative și posibilitatea de a se reacționa la acestea prin măsuri de combatere a propagandei anti-UE.

Europarlamentarul cere, totodată, măsuri pentru introducerea în cadrul Uniunii Europene a unor standarde clare și echitabile privind protecția drepturilor minorităților, care să fie implementate și verificate printr-un mecanism distinct. De asemenea, Mircea Diaconu consideră necesar ca partenerilor din afara UE și, în special, țărilor candidate la admitere să li se solicite să ofere un nivel de protecție a minorităților care să corespundă cerințelor formulate în Carta drepturilor fundamentale a Uniunii Europene și în convențiile internaționale privind eliminarea tuturor formelor de discriminare.

Demersul lui Mircea Diaconu are loc la o săptămână după ce, tot printr-o scrisoare deschisă, a solicitat Președintelui Klaus Iohannis și Guvernului României să se implice în rezolvarea problemelor privind încălcarea drepturilor românilor din afara frontierelor, probleme care au fost  semnalate de participanții la o audiere publică pe care europarlamentarul a organizat-o la Bruxelles.

open letter to the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Junker and the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, first vice-president Frans Timmermans
On the rights, or lack thereof, of minorities in the EU and its neighbourhood, 60 years on from the Treaties of Rome

Following the public hearing hosted in the European Parliament on the 5th of September, «Romania and its Historical Regions in their Centenary : Culture, Identity, European Values», it is with great concern that I bring to your attention the dire situation regarding the rights of the Romanian minorities1 in Serbia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Republic of Moldova, Albania, Greece, Croatia, and Hungary. On behalf of all participants in this conference, on behalf of all Romanian communities living outside of the current borders, in the so-called historical regions2, I call on the Commission and the Council to urgently guarantee the protection of all minorities in Europe.


1 The Romanian minorities in Serbia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Republic of Moldova, Albania, Greece, Croatia and Hungary are referred to as the minorities in the historical regions, as these communities did not migrate but found themselves outside the national borders following various conflicts, border disputes and as a consequence of the Paris Peace Treaties.

2 Ibid. 1

With a focus on the issues of the larger Romanian communities in the historical regions and acknowledging at the same time that human rights breaches occur within a much wider ethnic/national context within both the EU and its neighbourhood, I bring to your attention a few facts and figures, as presented by some of the participants:

  • The situation of the 500,000 Romanian speaking community in Ukraine, split between the Transcarpathia region, the Cernăuți (Cernivți) region and the Odessa region, who have long been persecuted pre and post-Soviet era.
    The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has recently ambushed the “Eudoxiu Hurmuzachi” Romanian Cultural Centre in Cernăuți (Cernivți), where (on separate occasions) the flags of Romania and the EU (flying alongside the Ukrainian flag) were removed from the building; leaders and members of the association were detained, including Mr Vasile Tărîțeanu (Honourary Member of the Romanian Academy); books and cultural publications were confiscated and destroyed.
    Following the annexation of Crimea, the Romanian speaking community in the Odessa region issued a public statement in support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, condemning Russia’s brutal actions. However, within six months, the leaders of the community were subjected to home searches and intimidation practices under the so-called suspicion of pro-Russian separatism.
  • The situation of the 300,000 Romanian speaking community in Serbia, the 160,000 Romanian speaking community in Bulgaria and the two million Aromanians3 in Greece, who are not recognized as national minorities in those EU or EU-aspiring countries and, therefore, have no rights to assert their identity through culture, language, and religion.

3 Ethnic group native to the Balkans, traditionally living in northern and central Greece, central and southern Albania, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo and south-western Bulgaria, speaking the Aromanian language, one of the four official dialects of the Romanian language.

President Juncker, President Tusk,

  • having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union;
  • having regard to the UN International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination;
  • having regard to the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education;
  • having regard to Art. 27, part of international customary law, in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
  • whereas all endeavours to reclaim their basic minority rights to assert their identity through culture, language and religion, have been conducted by the above Romanian speaking minorities in compliance with the Constitution of the host country, in a peaceful, democratic and non-separatist spirit, acknowledging the citizenship of the host country and all rights, responsibilities and obligation ensued;

I call on you to urgently propose an EU wide strategy for the protection of minorities within the EU, the EU neighbourhood and any EU partner who benefits from the support of all our citizens, taking into account:

  • the establishment of a pan-European Working Group on minority rights within the EU and the wider European region, comprised of representatives of all ethnic minorities;
  • a new strategy for the protection of Member States’ minorities residing outside of the EU borders, in order to allow monitoring and reacting to adverse developments such as Ukraine‘s new Education Act adopted on the 5th of September 2017, which promises to further decrease the rights of all of Ukraine’s national minorities through what could be described as forced assimilation;
  • the further development of the current strategy for combatting anti-EU propaganda in the Eastern Neighbourhood, in order to target disinformation campaigns from multiple sources not just Russian ones. This includes anti-Romanian and anti-EU propaganda in the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine where Romanians are often labelled separatists or pro-Russian, in spite of any evidence thereof. To name just a recent incident, citizens of Romania and Moldova were recently banned for 24 hours from entering the latter country, which was obviously a violation of the EU-Moldova visa regime. The group was on its way to Chișinău to peacefully mark the Centenary of the Unification of Romania and Moldova within a cultural manifestation.
  • the introduction of clear and just standards for the protection of minorities in the EU, which should be implemented and verified through a distinct mechanism. Romania’s current system, designed for ensuring minority rights (freedom to express and promote identity, culture, language, religion; an allocated state budget; guaranteed political representation), could serve as an excellent starting point.
  • requesting all non-EU partners, and especially candidate countries to offer a similar level of protection to their own minorities.

 

President Juncker, President Tusk,

I believe that the current status of the EU as well as the values and principles it is built on, not only allow but oblige the European Institutions to take a stand regarding the dire situation of these Romanian communities briefly presented above. All the abuses and breaches of human rights have been duly documented by our co-nationals and all evidence may be consulted in detail upon request. In the spirit of an ever closer and wider Union, of an ever closer collaboration and friendship among the European peoples, and in order to uphold freedom, unity in diversity and reciprocity as core values of our European project, I call on you today to take all necessary steps to protect all our minorities outside of the EU, to protect all minorities in all partner countries. Two worrying concepts still exist at the level of minorities in historical regions and even emergent expat communities in the EU: the guilt of having been born somewhere and the courage to admit you were born there. In 21st century Europe, in 2018, the European Year of Cultural Heritage, when we commemorate 100 years since the end of WWI, 60 years on from the EU’s founding Treaties, there should be no place for such guilt, no need for such courage.

 

We await an early, and we trust a favourable reply.

Yours sincerely,

Mircea Diaconu
Vice-President of the Committee on Culture and Education, European Parliament

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