What we do
Strengthening political participation of the minorities on the German federal level
The autochthonous minorities in Germany are – on the federal level – represented in several political committees and bodies:
The basic structure for political participation forms the Minority Council and its Minority Secretariat in Berlin. Furthermore there is the office of the Federal Government Commissioner for Matters Related to Ethnic German Resettlers and National Minorities, which is located at the Federal Ministry of the Interior.
A number of advisory committees for issues related to the Danish minority, the Frisians, the Sorbian people, the German Sinti and Roma and the Low German language group guarantee that the individual minorities and the regional language-community of Low German are in contact with the German federal government and the German federal parliament. The focus of these meetings is on the specific challenges that each minority is facing.
At the joint conferences of the German federal level with the regions (Lands) (also called implementation conferences), the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages of the Council of Europe is discussed. The participants at these conferences are the German federal ministries tasked with minority protection and the minority and regional languages, the coordinating regional authorities responsible for these issues, the representatives of the umbrella organisations of the minorities and language groups who are protected by these instruments and their academic institutions.
Once each year the round table of the national minorities at the German federal parliament takes place. With the support of the chair of the Committee on Internal Affairs, members of parliament consult with the representatives of the umbrella organisation of the national minorities once or twice a year.
The basic structure for political participation of the national minorities on the German federal level is there. However, the Minority Council wants to strengthen this framework. The majority of the members of parliament do not know about the interests of the minorities and consequently these interests are not taken into consideration when political decisions are taken. However, minority issues are touching on various areas of policy, e.g. security policy, media policy, education policy, refugee policy, economic policy, environmental policy, infrastructure and development policy, European policy et cetera.
It is our common challenge to find effective ways of communication, in order to ensure that the interests of the minorities are better communicated and respected within the decision processes of the German federal and regional (Lands) level.
In the eighteenth parliamentary term of the German federal parliament we achieved that within one term both a report on the situation of the national minorities was elaborated by the German federal government and that it was debated inside the German federal parliament.
In order to facilitate effective cooperation with the German federal parliament we continue to call for the appointment of a minority commissioner/minority speaker for each political group in the federal parliament as contact person for the minorities.
Discussion with the chairman of the Committee on Internal Affairs of the German federal parliament, Mr Ansgar Heveling MP and his substitute, Mr Frank Tempel MP
Round table of the national minorities at the German federal parliament
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