The building of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg – Photo: wikipedia

Government official: National minorities should be kept on CoE agenda

It is vitally important that the issue of national minorities should be kept on the agenda of the Council of Europe (CoE), the foreign ministry's state secretary responsible for security policy told parliament's national cohesion committee.

Reporting on the Hungarian CoE presidency’s programmes focusing on national minorities, Peter Sztaray noted that during the Hungarian presidency between May and November 2021, 50 professional and 20 cultural events were held on the representation and development of the rights of national minorities. He added that the issue of national minorities had got stuck in the Council of Europe, which gave far more political attention to non-national minorities.

Ferenc Andras Kalmar, the commissioner for neighbourhood relations, said the conferences held for ethnic research institutes and civil organisations focused on representing the interests of ethnic minority communities and legal practices in European institutions, as well as the guidelines determining future work.

Katalin Szili, the prime minister’s commissioner for minority rights, highlighted the importance of recognising the right to preserve national identity as a “fifth-generation” human right. In a statement, she called on the European Parliament to enshrine in a declaration the rights of “indigenous minorities”.

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