Victory of the Szekler National Council in the Court of Justice of the European Union
The Szekler National Council has achieved tremendous success in Luxembourg. The Court of Justice of the European Union, in second instance, declared the European Commission's decision of July 2013 rejecting the registration of a European Citizens' Initiative on national regions, to be null. The court therefore took the side of the initiators over the European Commission.
The inhabitants of Szeklerland have long been experiencing a decline in Szeklerland’s economy, in spite of generous EU funding allocated to Romania. Szeklers face obstacles while conducting their day-to-day business, seeking employment, healthcare, education, as well as in other affairs. Therefore the Szekler National Council, through their initiative, seeks to make changes to the rules of EU cohesion policy so that the money of EU taxpayers cannot be used for the purposed of anti-minority policies.
In 2013, a twelve-member Citizens 'Committee presented the European Citizens' Initiative for the European Commission, drafted by the Szekler National Council, entitled 'Cohesion Policy for Equality of the Regions and the Sustainability of Regional Cultures'. The members of this committee were: Members of the Committee: Izsák Balázs (Romania, Szeklerland), Attila Korodi (Romania, Szeklerland), Attila Dabis (Hungary), Boldoghy Olivér (Slovakia / Felvidék), Roland Dudda (Austria), Pierre Gillet (Belgium), Francis Albert Bernardus Jeursen (Netherlands), Miren Martiarena (Spain, Basque Country), Őry Peter (Slovakia, Felvidék), Publik Antal (Sweden), Andreas Schmalcz (Germany), Jordi Xucla (Spain, Catalonia).
The Commission refused to register the initiative, so that the gathering of one million signatures could not be started. The initiators have launched a lawsuit in 2013 against the Commission for rejecting the registration of the initiative, but the first instance Court in 2016 rejected the plaintiffs' claim. The organizers have applied for review with the Court of Justice of the European Union.
In the initiative, the Szekler National Council, together with its European partners asks of Brussels that the European Union's cohesion policy pays special attention to national regions, geographical areas that do not necessarily have administrative powers of their own, which are distinguished from the surrounding regions by their national, ethnic, cultural, religious, linguistic particularities. According the initiators, when preventing regions from falling behind economically, that must be accomplished in a way that does not change their particularities. The Szekler National Council calls on the Commission to implement the Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, to take seriously and to fulfill its obligation of maintaining the EU's cultural diversity. Considering the practice of some member states of redistributing EU development funds provided in the context of the EU cohesion policy, in an abusive manner that negatively affects regions inhabited by national minorities, the initiative calls on Brussels to prevent the national regions from falling behind, and, for the sake of preserving the cultural diversity of the EU, ensure that they are provided equal access to Structural Funds and other EU funds, resources, programs, and to guarantee the preservation of their particularities and their economical development. With the help of additional economic potential, which lies in the social and territorial cohesion of regions inhabited by national and ethnic minorities, can be achieved and transformed into a powerful economical resource, which benefits not only the regions themselves, but also the member states, and the whole of the European Union. The practice of EU Member States, to use development aid in a way that weakens regions inhabited by national and ethnic minorities, must cease. The European Union must therefore end the economic discrimination and deliberate deconstruction of national regions - through provision dedicated from the EU budget for cohesion policy, if necessary – as this is the only way in which the cultural characteristics of national regions, which are part of the common European heritage, can be preserved.
The European Union is facing a reform. Today, there is a growing emphasis on protecting the EU values, and the next few years will be focusing on what direction the European integration is taking. The Treaty on European Union defines respect for the rights of persons belonging to minorities as a fundamental value of the European Union equal to that of the rule of law. In the opinion of the Szekler National Council, we cannot talk about respect for these rights if the way the cohesion policy is put into practice in Member States does not permit the preservation of the characteristics of the national regions, or worse, threatens these. The national regions wasting away can lead to the liquidation of a given national community, which violates the above mentioned fundamental value of the European Union. Success in their land of birth is the fundamental condition of the survival of national communities of a minority status, and as such, this becomes a key condition to preserving the cultural diversity of the European Union.
The initiative of the Szekler National Council contains an appropriate solution for this problem, therefore the Szekler National Council asks the European Commission to register the initiative submitted in 2013 on the as per its original content, based on the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union today.
Press Service of the Szekler National Council
March 7, 2019