Minority Secretariat

Legal framework

European Union (EU)

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (EU) prohibits any discrimination based on language or membership of a national minority in Article 21. Furthermore the Union shall respect cultural, religious and linguistic diversity, according to Article 22 of the Charter.

The importance given to the different regions by the EU and its Member States is given expression by the existence of the Committee of the Regions. This institution is an advisory body for the Commission, Council and European Parliament. Regions and cities in the Member States are given a say in the EU decision-making process. The Committee of the Region is not an organ for the minorities. But they have the chance to make their interests known in the Committee of the Regions through their activities in the different areas of settlement.  

Furthermore, the Council of the European Union adopted a number of directives against discrimination, e.g. the Council Directive implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin from 2000 (Directive 2000/43/EC). There is no directive that directly addresses discrimination based on language or membership of a national minority.

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