A Fidesz MEP on Friday slammed the European Commission’s rejection of Minority SafePack, a citizens’ initiative urging European Union protection for indigenous national minorities in the bloc, as “unacceptable and outrageous”.
The EC on Friday issued a statement saying that a wide range of measures had been taken to address the issues outlined in the initiative since it was launched in 2013. “While no further legal acts are proposed, the full implementation of legislation and policies already in place provides a powerful arsenal to support the Initiative’s goals,” the statement said.
Balázs Hidvéghi said in a video that some 50 million Europeans, or 10 percent of the bloc’s citizens, belong to ethnic or linguistic minorities. “It is no wonder that the initiative was a huge success”, with the required number of signatures collected in 11 member states rather than the required seven, Hidveghi said. The full total of signatures came to 1.1 million, he said.
Nevertheless, the European Commission has “swept the initiative off the table”, he said.
Hidvéghi called the decision “outrageous, unacceptable and cynical”, especially since EU Commissioner Vera Jourova “is the loudest champion of minorities and lectures certain member states regularly when it comes to the rights of immigrants or other minorities constituting a fraction of European citizens”, he said.
“But then she simply says no to an initiative on a weighty issue impacting 50 million people, which has garnered 1.1 million signatures,” he said.
The best the EC could have done to preserve diversity in Europe would have been to support the initiative, he said.
Katalin Szili, the prime ministerial commissioner in charge of the policy for Hungarians abroad, said the EC had repeated its standpoint that it did not have legislative powers when it came to issues pertaining to the protection of minorities, despite the European Parliament’s support and the initiative’s scope.
Szili said the decision referred to “various gender, Roma and LGBTQ strategies that are sufficiently elastic so they do not have to be adhered to,” and measures inadequate to protect national minorities.
The EC has shied away from making a political decision, Szili said. The decision has shown that the commission is “driven by institutional bureaucracy rather than a wish to solve real problems”, she said.