New reports on protection of regional and minority languages in Austria, Cyprus and Romania

Committee of Ministers Strasbourg 6 April 2018
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New reports on protection of regional and minority languages in Austria, Cyprus and Romania

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 4 April 2018 examined the implementation of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and provided recommendations to Austria, Cyprus and Romania, based on the country-specific reports of the Committee of Experts under the Charter.

In Austria, the situation has not significantly changed since 2012, the report of the Committee of Experts says.  The Charter covers Burgenland-Croatian, Czech, Hungarian, Romani, Slovakian and Slovenian languages. Its provisions are more actively applied in the domains of education, justice, administration and culture, rather than in media, notably broadcast media. A structured policy is needed for the protection and promotion of all minority languages, especially in Vienna, in education, before the judicial and administrative authorities, and in broadcasting.

In Cyprus, progress was observed in the protection of Armenian and Maronite Arabic languages, the report said.  It is recommended that steps be taken to expand the teaching of these languages and strengthen their presence in broadcasting.

As for Romania, the authorities should reconsider the thresholds for official use of minority languages in the administration. At the moment, minority languages can only be used in relations with administration where the population belonging to the minority represents more than 20% of the population. Providing training in a sufficient number of teachers with regard to Bulgarian, Czech, Croatian, German, Hungarian, Romani, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Turkish and Ukrainian is also recommended, as well as developing comprehensive educational models for the teaching in or of Tatar and Turkish, in co-operation with representatives of the minority language speakers. The Committee of Ministers also encouraged the Romanian authorities to continue to develop a comprehensive offer of teaching in or of Romani, taking account of the needs and wishes of the Romani speakers.

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