2014 Political Manifesto Chapter 5 Language and Culture

  • Education should be dealt with at a stateless nation, regional or sub-state level. Education should be available to young people in the language of their choice.
  • Sub-state and minority languages should be supported in situations outside of the educational system, such as in dealings with public institutions.
  • A new programme called “Lingua” must be created to support non-official EU languages, especially endangered ones.
  • The EU should support youth participation in cultural events.
  • The EU should support and promote broadcasting and press in sub-state and minority languages.

EFAy represents a broad range of youth organisations from stateless nations and regions throughout Europe which have their own culture, language or sense of identity. A different culture or language is often a defining factor for many of the territories that we represent, and are therefore an important area of action for our individual organisations as well as for EFAy as a collective movement. We also realise that some organisations are at a different stage in the struggle for equality; while some are consolidating a normalisation process, others are fighting for the mere recognition of their language by state authorities. The diversity of our languages and cultures shapes the identity of our continent, and is something to celebrate.

Education

Education is a key factor in the revival and safeguarding of our languages. EFAy believes that education should be dealt with at a stateless nation, regional or sub-state level. All young people have the right to be taught in their national language in a public, secular and a fairly funded schooling system. We condemn every state or regional government that withholds this right and we will fight to ensure the growth of minority and sub-state languages in education throughout the European Union.

We believe that young people should be able to continue their education in the language of their choice after completing obligatory schooling. EFAy supports the introduction of sub-state and minority languages in universities and their use as a medium of teaching.

Vocational studies should also be offered in sub-state and minority languages, reflecting the need for a vibrant young workforce with strong language skills and cultural awareness.

Language opportunities

Despite the importance of teaching sub-state and minority languages in the education system, it is also key to support initiatives that promote languages outside the classroom. EFAy encourages the growth and promotion of extra-curricular activities, be they cultural, sporting or leisure activities held in sub-state and minority languages, and suggests that both state and European institutions invest to safeguard these important initiatives.

More often than enough, however, opportunities to use sub-state or minority languages outside of a school environment are hard to come by. EFAy advocates more financial and institutional support for youth organisations that use sub-state or minority languages, and believes that it is the responsibility of governments to ensure that a minimal extra-curricular service is provided to all those who study in minority or sub-state languages.

In many territories, it is almost impossible to use minority languages in everyday life, especially while dealing with public institutions. EFAy supports campaigns to push for language equality throughout Europe, and advocates all young people’s basic right to use their language while dealing with public administration.

Cultural activities

Culture enriches the lives of young people across the continent, but is often the first victim of budget cuts at the time of economic crisis. We defend a sustainable model that provides due recognition to the importance of culture throughout Europe and that encourages young people to participate in cultural activities.

Young people are often barred from participating in cultural activities, such as the theatre, cinema and concerts due to economic problems. EFAy suggests that the European Union provides funding to offer reduced rates to students and unemployed youth in every member state.

We condemn all so-called cultural activities that involve the mistreatment of animals, such as bullfighting, bear-baiting and fox hunting, and call for a Europe-wide moratorium of such cruel activities.

We demand the creation of a new EU programme, ‘‘Lingua’’ aiming at supporting all non-official EU languages, especially those which are endangered.

Broadcasting and the press

Broadcasting and the press in minority languages should be supported and promoted by European institutions. We condemn the fact that the EU subsidises brutal sports such as bullfighting, without giving due attention to supporting broadcasting and the printed press in sub-state and minority languages. We defend the creation of a new EU programme supporting all TV, radio and newspapers throughout Europe.

Many territories throughout Europe share a language with another member state, especially in border regions. Stringent laws on broadcasting often mean that minorities in other states are unable to receive television or radio signal from the neighbouring state, making it difficult for minority language speakers to practise and live through the medium of their mother tongue. This also applies to the internet, a medium that the majority of young people use to view television programmes.

EFAy calls for cooperation between member states to ensure that national minorities in neighbouring states are able to view public television channels from the states with which they share a language. We call for European laws to be relaxed on the broadcasting of programmes on the internet, providing young people with access to television or radio in their language.

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