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EBLUL. European Bureau for Lesser-Used Languages. Austria Belgium Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary. Italy Ireland Luxembourg Netherlands Poland Slovakia Spain Sweden United Kingdom. Member states- 19. Some basic facts…. f ounded 1982

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European Bureau

for Lesser-Used Languages

member states 19


Czech Republic
















United Kingdom

Member states- 19
some basic facts
Some basic facts….
  • founded 1982
  • democratically governed NGO
  • based on a network of Member State Committees
  • aim: to protect and promote the autochthonous languages of Europe
  • give a voice to the –then- voiceless
In today’s EU there are some 40-50 million speakers of lesser-used: regional, minoritised languages, comprising 10% of the EU population
  • generation of information, sharing and networking in the field of language promotion at European and international levels
  • close relations to the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); operational relations with UNESCO and OSCE
  • linking and servicing linguistic communities, through the MSCs, as well as local and regional authorities in EU Member States, supporting their activieties for the protection and promotion of lesser-used languages in the context of linguistic diversity
  • providing and disseminationg information on European policies and programmes to its MSCs, European linguistic communities, and local/regional authorities; seeking adequate partnerships
  • providing information at the European level
major activities
Major activities
  • Linking Lesser Used Language communities
  • Providing expertise
  • Documenting, mapping, publishing
  • Organizing seminars, conferences (> PfD)
  • Lobbying and advocacy
Linking linguistic


Providing advice and assistance

Encouraging co-operation

Information on EU programmes

f unding networking
Funding & Networking
  • EBLUL works under Irish law
  • 80% funding from the European Commission
  • minimum 20% from national, local & regional authorities (governments of Ireland and Luxemburg, Autonomous Region of South Tirol, Province of Fryslân, French & German communities of Belgium)
  • since 2007 member fees – differentiated for individual MSCs
  • Project partners
  • Network for Promoting Linguistic Diversity NPLD
  • maybe in the future – European Centre for Linguistic Diversity ECLD
  • Working toward EU Charter for Regional and Minority Languages
  • Supporting Framework Convention for National Minorities
  • Contributing to the draft EU Constitution
languages in eblul
Languages in EBLUL
  • mostly those under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
  • „traditionally used within a given territory of a State by nationals of that State who form a group numerically smaller than the rest of the State’s population; and
  • different from the official language(s) of that State*;
  • it does not include either dialects of the official language(s) of the State** or the languages of migrants”
  • *exceptions: Irish, Luxemburgish
  • ** sometimes disputable: Silesian in PL, Võro-Seto in EE,

also Meänkieli in FI or Kven in NO

regional languages
Regional languages
  • the case of Low German has opened the new legal opportunities to the regional languages throughout Europe, especially those with a questionable status in own countries. Germany was the first country to use pragmatically the dichotomy in the official title of the Charter and decided to distinguish between the Minderheitensprachen, with a commonly recognized linguistic status, such as Frisian, Danish and Sorbian and the Regionalsprache Niederdeutsch.
  • Poland - obviously following the German example - decided to grant the legal status of a regional language to Kashubian and even included the term into the internal legal system.
  • A way to follow…? 
  • regional language communities very active in EBLUL MSCs, even if not recognized by States (Silesian in PL, Võro-Seto in EE)
languages of migrants
Languages of Migrants
  • the Charter [and EBLUL] applies therefore to languages which belong to the traditional cultural heritage of a State
  • migrants – persons of foreign origin who are not nationals of a State; the languages of immigrant communities or those derived from immigration, regardless of whether the speakers of these languages are nationals of the state*
  • languages, also on a territorial base – not speakers with individual rights

* Woehrling, Jean-Marie 2005. The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. A critical commentary. Counsil of Europe Publishing

Woehrling, Jean-Marie 2005.The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.A critical commentary.
  • „The traditional regional or minority languages are languages which have long been in use in the particular territory*.
  • (…) are closely linked to the history, the geography (toponymy) and culture of the territory. (…)
  • they have to be seen as an element of the national linguistic heritage.
  • The official language is often a more recent arrival (…)
  • the groups which use traditional regional or minority languages consist of nationals who are usually completely integrated into society in the State.
  • *Regulations in individual States: e.g. PL and HU defined „traditional” minorities/minority languages as those who have existed on the territory for at least 100 years.
committee on migration refugees and population of the eu parliamentary assembly doc 8993 23 01 2001
Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population of the EU Parliamentary AssemblyDoc.8993 – 23.01.2001
  • distinction between historical or traditional linguistic minorities and the „new minorities” emmerging from immigration was a legitimate one, both from the viewpoint of States and with regard to the needs of those minorities(…)
member state committees
Member State Committees
  • State based non governmental organisations
  • Legally constituted
  • Representative of cultural, educational, and other actors in the area of languages
eurolang news service www eurolang net
Eurolang® news servicewww.eurolang.net
  • specialist niche news agency covering topics related to lesser-used languages, linguistic diversity, stateless nations and national minorities within the EU
  • provides on-line daily service across Europe, to NGOs, media, European, State and local government, academia, researchers and the general public
  • launched in 2000 by EBLUL
  • one million hits per month
  • a viewpoint missing in mainstream media > internationalisation of minority issues
  • popular way to spread new ideas
  • communicating Europe to the RML communities (up > bottom)
  • regular reports from countries and regions in the EU (bottom > up)
  • linking language communities
  • helping to initiate language projects, keeping people aware of current best pracices
  • market place for lan guage-related activities: new language learning software, advertising conferences, new music, theatre, books etc.
partnership for diversity
Partnership for Diversity
  • established 2000
  • series of conferences – the Balears (Catalans), Ireland, Finland (Swedes), Italy (Slovenes), Scotland, Italy (Ladins), Poland (Kashubs)
  • partnership between regional and local authorities and the language communities

Language Policy and the Regions in Europe

GdańskGduńsk Danzig





some observations
Some observations…
  • SMILE Report – very small % for RML’s

(slightly over 4%…)

co-operation between the differing language communities in partnerships large and small

  • EC Communication on Multilingualism – very little on RMLs


„Commissioner Leonard Orban launched a Communication on Thursday last week (September 18th) entitled "Multilingualism: an asset for Europe and a shared commitment", addressing languages in the wider context of social cohesion and prosperity. MEPs from the European Free Alliance (EFA) qualified their welcome stating:  “We would welcome specific commitments to the promotion of minority languages and languages that are not yet official at EU level, commitments that have not yet been sufficiently forthcoming. This is a good start but we have a long way to go."

in conclusion
in conclusion…
  • Looking to networks for language teaching and learning in the New Framework for Multilingualism to serve an inclusive diversity
  • Foster a sense of EU citizenship in an environment “where we are all minorities”

President  - Neasa Ní Chinnéide (Éire)

Vice President - John McIntyre (UK-Ulster)

  • EBLUL Board:

Simon Faber (DE-Schlezwig)

Mikel Etxebarria (ES-Euzkadi)

Tangi Louarn (FR-Breizh)

Domenico Morelli (IT-Arborësh)

Pádraig Ó Ceithearnaigh (Éire)

Tomasz Wicherkiewicz (PL-Kaszëbe)





Suur tänan !

Thank you very much !

Большоеспасибо !

Dziękuję bardzo !

[email protected]