At meetings between experts and stakeholders from the national and local administration, academia and civil society in Miranda do Douro, Portugal, on 14-15 December, the Secretary of State for Education, João Costa, stated that the government is working with self-governments, schools and the Council of Europe to evaluate the conditions necessary for the possible signing of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.
The meeting brought together politicians, academics and experts, including Mr Artur Nunes, Mayor of the Municipality of Miranda do Duoro, Mr Carlos Ferreira, Head of the Municipal Assembly, and Mr Sixto Molina, Head of the Secretariat of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.
For Mr Fernando Ramallo, the Spanish member of the Committee of Experts of the European Charter, and Galician academic, this step is essential for the government to help preserve languages such as Mirandese. The Chair of the Committee of Experts, Vesna Crnic-Grotic, and the 2nd Vice-Chair, Aleksandra Oszmianska-Pagett, also took part in the meetings.
The Secretary of State, Mr Costa, said the government is committed to guaranteeing "a more democratic and inclusive society" namely with regard to the preservation of "linguistic rights" in Portugal. The government is assessing the implications of a future signature, informing itself on the reality of other countries’ experiences and positions before any interministerial decision and discussion in the Republic’s Assembly.
The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages requires that signatory states comply with 35 obligations chosen from the areas of education, culture, administration, media, justice, economic life and cross-border cooperation.