Back Hungary highlights Council of Europe's role in national minority youths’ political participation

Hungary highlights Council of Europe's role in national minority youths’ political participation

On 17-18 June 2024, in Budapest, Hungary, the 2024 edition of Council of Europe Days event brought together young people belonging to national minorities from several Council of Europe member states to highlight the Council of Europe’s crucial role in setting standards for their political rights. The 1,5 days event, Youth Seminar and Policy Symposium, aimed at engaging with policy and decisionmakers, academic practitioners, and members of the Budapest-based diplomatic community. It was also an occasion to raise awareness and highlight the Council of Europe´s work and added value while celebrating its 75th anniversary.

Hungarian State Secretary for Security Policy and Energy Security Péter Sztáray underlined the importance of the seminar in creating a platform for exchanging views, sharing best practices, and brainstorming to promote national minority youths’ active political participation. ”An essential element for keeping national minority communities alive is to provide them with political representation, so that their voice can be heard. Not only that there are legal instruments set by the law in a country, but also that the national minority community is actually capable of using these instruments”, he said.

Addressing the event via video, Deputy Secretary General Bjørn Berge, emphasised that “The Council of Europe has long underlined the importance of inclusive democracies, including the promotion of national minorities through its expertise, namely the Framework Convention on National Minorities, the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages. On youth inclusion, the European Youth Centres in Budapest and Strasbourg have played a key role in developing a range of tools to help member states’ take account of younger citizens’ views and interests”, he said.

The Head of Hungarian Parliamentary Assembly delegation Zsolt Németh opened the Youth Seminar. He and Emma Lantschner, associate professor at the Centre for Southeast European Studies (CSEES) at the University of Graz and member of the Council of Europe’s Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities outlined key elements of the Recommendation on the active political participation of national minority youth, adopted by the Council of Europe in October 2023.

The agenda also included a training seminar built around the themes of the recommendation and utilizing the Council of Europe Youth Department’s know-how in facilitating meaningful youth participation on local, national and European levels, as well as the findings of the  Study on the active political participation of national minority youth in Council of Europe member States.

Budapest 5 July 2024
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