EU Languagepages

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Languages of Europe


Regional and minority languages

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EU policy - to protect and promote regional and minority languages

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The EU has a positive policy towards regional and minority languages, enshrined in Article 22 of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, which states, “The Union respects cultural, religious and linguistic diversity”.

The European Parliament has adopted a series of resolutions promoting action on regional and minority languages.

These fall into two main categories:

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  1. funding for projects and practical initiatives to protect and promote regional and minority languages - assistance was provided up to the year 2000
  2. financial support for the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages and the Mercator information network - more information about these can be found under “Organisations”

These actions target indigenous languages traditionally spoken by part of the population of the EU Member States. EEA countries are also included. This definition does not include the languages of immigrant communities, artificially created languages or dialects of an official language of the state in question.

 

European Commission studies and projects

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In 1992, the European Commission initiated a detailed study of regional and minority language communities in the EU. As new countries joined the Union, the scope of the study was widened. For more information visit the Euromosaic page.

In addition, the European Commission provided support to the ADUM project (2004-05). ADUM informs people and organisations working to support regional or minority languages about European funding opportunities.

Other recent projects include CRAMLAP (Celtic, Regional and Minority Languages Abroad Project), which has undertaken an audit and evaluation of Higher Education provision of Celtic and other regional and minority languages in Europe, and the Network of European Language Planning Boards, established to promote co-operation between minority language planning boards in Europe.

For an overview of regional and minority language projects supported by the European Union, see the “Regional and Minority” Language Products page.