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  Youth declares one’s solidarity with the Occitans in France – YEN accepts new members

Monday 23 April 2007

When circa 100 young people from 25 autochthonous and national minorities in 14 countries of Europe come together then there is discussion, party and new ideas are developed. This was at least the case for the Youth of European Nationalities, who had their traditional Easter Seminar at the Occitans in the south of France.

The particular situation of the regional language communities in France was the main subject of the seminar and there was a lively discussion about the rights to maintain the language and culture in France.
With more than 33 member organisations now from 17 countries YEN remains the largest organisation for youth associations of the national, autochthonous minorities in Europe. As new extra-ordinary members the Cashubians from Poland and the youth organisation of the Aromanian community in Romania were accepted and the extra-ordinary members Junge SPitzen from Denmark and the Serb Youth Forum were accepted as ordinary, full member.

"As constantly growing organisation we have to change our structures according to our challenges, so that we are able to use and exploit this big European network that we are to its full capacity. It is our goal that we strengthen our political activity", president Aleksander Studen-Kirchner explains, satisfied with the seminar.

Two new members have come into the board of YEN, Jens Christian Beuke (German from Nordschleswig / Denmark) and Arek Luba (German from Poland). They succeed Stefan Emrich (Burgenland Croat from Austria) and Chatrina Josty (Rhaetian from Switzerland).

The General Assembly of YEN took almost 12 hours – also proof for the democracy and open exchange of ideas in the youth organisation, the president of YEN rejoiced. He is very pleased with the productive and constructive engagement of the member organisations at the seminar.

In a political sense the YEN-delegates made no secret of the inadequate or not-existing protection for the regional language communities in France and they adopted a resolution at the General Assembly that calls upon the French State to protect and actively support its regional language communities.

"According to Article 2 of the French constitution French is the only spoken language in France. In this way the State weasels itself out for it responsibility in the protection of linguistic diversity – for the State this diversity does not exist in France. Because the reality is different, the Occitans have no other chance than to gather in masses and to demand their rights. The support by other European ethnic groups will hopefully contribute to put an end to the current point of view, which is not appropriate in the Europe of the 21st century. But of course only one seminar is not enough. More help will follow", Christiana Walde, vice-president of YEN and one of the main organisers of the seminar explains.

Furthermore a resolution of the Carinthian Slovenes about the rights in a bilingual region like Carinthia was presented and adopted, just like a resolution about changes in the Law for the protection of the Slovene minority in Italy. The young minority representatives insistently called upon the European Union to include in the new negotiations about the future of the European constitution the rights of the autochthonous, national minorities.

© 2007 YEN.