The declarations of the President of the Venice Committee made at a Cluj-Napoca/Kolozsvár conference weaken the effectiveness European minority protection mechanisms and question the work of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention– declare in an analysis the researchers of the Budapest based Research Institute of National Policy.
The analysis was made after a conference was organized at April the 30, at Cluj-Napoca/Kolozsvár by the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Babeș-Bolyai University, where Gianni Buquicchio, the President of the Venice Committee also participated. At the conference, Gianni Buquicchio praised the Romanian minority model, saying that it was an exemplary minority protection model.
According to the analysis of the researchers of the National Policy Institute, the Romanian minority model is by no means an “exemplary one”, as regular conflict between majority and minority is common, and organizing such conferences will lessen the chances of finding real solutions to Romania’s severe problems in the field of minority protection.
„In our view, the circumstances of organizing of the conference and the things that were said there perfectly illustrate Romania’s minority policies: while the Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs called Romania’s minority model exemplary, emphasizing it that its essence is the inclusion of minorities into decision making, the biggest minority protection organization, UDMR/DAHR was not invited to participate.
Invitation was not sent to the Cluj-Napoca/Kolozsvár based Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities either, the minority research institute of the Romanian state.”- is written in the analysis.
Gianni Buquicchio’s declaration that “the Romanian authorities pay close attention to respecting the Convention and other applicable norms” raise a series of serious questions. Within the Council of Europe two treaties were made, the alongside the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities Romania also ratified the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages. The representatives of the Monitoring Commissions that follow the application of the norms of these treaties were also not invited to the conference. The researchers find it highly unusual, that the members of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention could not send a representatives to conference that had its topic the Framework Convention. The researchers also pointed it out that Gianni Buquicchio overtook the role of the Advisory Committee and formulated a rather strong opinion in a matter that is outside his expertise.
„In case the representatives of the Advisory Committee were present at the Cluj/Kolozsvár conference, they couldn’t have overlooked the fact that Romania is more than a year late with presenting its report on how the Convention’s norms are respected and applied in the country, as well as the fact that Romania disregarded the recommendations of the previous monitoring.
When it comes to applying the norms of the European Charter of Regional and Minority Languages, the problem is even more severe: Romania should have presented its last report more than three years ago, while monitoring is due every three years.
We acknowledge with great surprise that by praising Romania’s minority policies, – especially when saying that the Romanian authorities pay close attention to respecting the Convention and other applicable norms – the President of the Venice Committee questions the work of the Advisory Committee.
Gianni Buquicchio overlooked also the 2014 Report of the European Commission against racism and Intolerance (ECRI), which pointed out the Romanian authorities’ inconsistencies and abuse when it comes to regional symbols of minorities, the restitution of nationalized estates and its negative attitude towards the dismissive decisions of Strasbourg Human Rights Court. “- is written in the analysis.