székely szekler flag parliament Budapest
Photo by Daily News Hungary

Renée Zellweger’s mother, Kjellfrid Irene is Norwegian of Kven and Sámi descent. Therefore, supporters have reached out to her, asking her to become involved in the European Citizens’ Initiative on protecting national regions.

The European Citizens’ Initiative on protecting national regions launched on May 7 last year, and it aims to ensure that the EU takes into consideration the ethnic characteristics of regions when distributing cohesion funds.

The initiative for the Equality of the Regions and Sustainability of the Regional Cultures aims to convince the European Commission to create a cohesion policy that pays special attention to regions with national, ethnic, cultural, religious or linguistic characteristics that are different from those of the surrounding regions.

The proposal has symbolic weight, too, given the declaration of the year of national cohesion 100 years after the signing of the Trianon Peace Treaty. The proposed resolution states that the deprivations of such regions, including geographical areas without administrative powers, can be addressed by ensuring equal access to structural funds and other EU funds, resources, and programmes while promoting their regional identity.

One million signatures were collected by the end of May. However, the compulsory limit was reached only in three countries: Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. They would need the statutory limit in another four countries at least. Luckily, the European Union approved a later deadline for the petition due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and they can collect signatures until 7 November.

szekler flag szeklerland
Read alsoSzekler Council collects 1 million signatures for ethno-regions

The organisation is now trying to involve Renée Zellweger, two-time Oscar-winning American actress and producer in the signature drive, campaign manager László Pesty told Magyar Nemzet.

Hungarians residing in Sweden are fighting for the Szekler cause, and they have contacted the leaders of the local Sami minority groups. The idea to involve Renée Zellweger in the signature drive came up during one of their meetings. Renée Zellweger’s mother, Kjellfrid Iren has Sami origins, hence the idea to get her involved. Her involvement could be a very crucial step in promoting the cause across Europe, which has been quite challenging so far.

According to the SZNT, the legitimacy of the initiative would be greatly increased if millions of more signatures were collected, and the territorial threshold reached in at least 10-15 countries (instead of the officially needed 7).

Pesty told during a previous interview that they are starting to collect signatures in seven new countries: Croatia, Slovenia, Spain, Lithuania, Sweden, Estonia, and Latvia. He hopes to gain people’s support; they made campaign brochures in their native languages.

The petition can be accessed HERE.


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