1st March 2023 marks the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which was created to protect languages that form an inseparable part of Europe’s rich cultural and intangible heritage. The 25 Council of Europe member states that have ratified this Charter are obliged to actively promote the use of these languages in education, justice, administration, media, culture, economic and social life, as well as in cross-border cooperation.
In a statement to mark the anniversary Dr Aleksandra Oszmiańska-Pagett, Chair of the Committee of independent experts (COMEX) that monitors the implementation of the Charter, stressed the flexible character of the Charter:
“The system of commitments adopted in the Charter allows for adaptation to the situation of each language, taking into account the social, political and economic contexts which shape them. It makes it possible to guarantee the use of each of the more than 80 regional and minority languages currently protected by the Charter in all sectors of everyday life”.
Thanks to the recommendations provided as part of the Charter’s monitoring procedure, the States Parties have useful tools to better develop and deploy policies on the daily use of regional and minority languages. “As the Charter is a living instrument and is assessed in the light of current living conditions, new issues and challenges are now taken into consideration, such as the place given to regional and minority languages in new technologies, in social media or in the development of artificial intelligence,” the Committee Chair noted.