Mähren, Merhern, Morava, Morauia, Moravia, Moravië, Moravska, Morawy, Morva; Maравїя, Моравия
Tuesday, June 25, 2002 2:35 PM
EFA PRESS RELEASE: ENLARGEMENT OF IDENTITIES
Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales and
THE EUROPEAN FREE ALLIANCE
in the European Parliament
Brussels 25 June, 2002
Representation of national minorities in the 2001 Czech Census
Enlargement of identities
The European Free Alliance in the European Parliament will this week call for an enlargement of identities within countries applying for EU membership. During the EFA's annual general assembly, held this year in Brno in Moravia (the Czech Republic) Members of the European Parliament will call on applicant states to celebrate and encourage their minorities rather than uniformity.
Following the recent dramatic reduction in people identifying themselves as Moravians in the 2001 Census (from 1 362 313 in 1991 to 373 294 in 2001)
Eurig Wyn MEP (Plaid Cymru- The Party of Wales) member of the EU's Joint Parliamentary delegation to the Czech Republic calls on Czech authorities to do all it can to encourage its national minorities before it enters the EU:
"I was disappointed that the 2001 Census show that over the past ten years the numbers of people in the Czech Republic who consider themselves to be from a minority nationality has decreased by some 70%."
"It seems that the state machine is intent on crushing the Moravian national minority, as the government does not even recognise it as such. The basic identification characteristic of a nationality according to the Czech government is the existence of a culture with its own language. I think many of us in the EU would find that definition debatable, though possibly not the UK government."
"In Wales, we're currently awaiting the results of last year's controversial census. It is estimated that its conclusions could claim that there are 70,000 less Welsh speakers than there actually are, as many refused to complete the form, as it didn't allow people to register themselves as 'Welsh'. The government argued that being able to register the ability to speak Welsh was good enough. What an insult to the non Welsh speaking population of Wales!You can tick a box saying you're Welsh on the census in the USA which is really quite ironic.
"The UK government recently acknowledged that it had underestimated the degree of feeling in Wales. Any future census should have an input from our Assembly and should ensure that people can accurately classify their nationality."
"The EU was founded on the basis of tolerance, mutual respect with the unique aim of celebrating its diversity through co-operation. It's high time that EU Member States as well as applicant countries respect all if their population and start encourage people to celebrate their own cultures, rather than seeking to manufacture uniformity."
"Enlargement of the Union should be an opportunity for enlargement of ideas and identities not a process towards uniformity. It should also be an opportunity for the Union at large to celebrate its cultural diversity."
The EFA calls on the Czech Parliament to approve an amendment to the 2001 Act on the Rights of Members of National Minorities by the Union of Morovians Party recognising Moravian and Selisian national minorities.This is based on the Czech Constitution that states "any person shall have the right to freely choose their nationality. Any form of influencing such choice and any form of pressure aimed at the suppression of an individual's national identity shall be prohibited."
The E.F.A. will be holding its General Assembly in Brno, Moravia on Thursday (27 and Friday 28th of June 2002) at the Interhotel Voronez Krizkovskeho 47. A press conference will be held at the end of the event.
Green/ EFA group in the European Parliament
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