EFAy congratulates MEP Martin Schulz (S&D, Germany) on his election as President of the European Parliament, replacing the outgoing President Jerzy Buzek (EPP, Poland). Following the voting that took place during the European Parliament’s session in Strasbourg, Mr. Schulz gave a brief speech in which he stated: “This Chamber is the place where the interests of the people are defended”. Taking into account this powerful statement, EFAy hopes that during his mandate, Mr. Schulz will make sure that the interests and rights of all people in Europe are safeguarded and promoted equally, including the rights of minorities, stateless nations, people living in remote areas, marginalized people, etc. The European Parliament should become the public forum of all European peoples and minorities. We also trust that the new President will defend multilingualism and multiculturalism as the main features of our continent and emphasize the need for safeguarding the lesser used and minority languages as some of them are facing the danger of extinction. According to the data provided by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at least one language dies every two weeks. The death of a language is like the loss of species within the ecosystem. It represents a cultural tragedy, a slow vanishing of traditions that were created and maintained throughout the centuries. Therefore, we would like to remind the President of the importance of creating a European legislative framework on linguistic issues which will prevent the huge discrepancies among the different EU Members regarding the state of linguistic and cultural rights and will prevent the extinction of endangered languages.
Moreover, considering the current economic and social crisis that Europe is facing at large, there is a need for a leader that will reinforce the role of the Parliament and the Union, make sure that the democratic principles and values are maintained and respected in all the Member States and guarantee that young people are given the opportunity to get a job and have a better future.