ELEN is set to call for the ratification of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML) and comprehensive support for Sardinian language recovery at its General Assembly in Casteddu (Cagliari) this week.

The overarching theme of this year’s meeting, hosted by the Babel Film Festival, is effective language recovery, commencing with an event, in the presence of  the UN Special Rapporteur on Minorities, the Vice-Chair of the Council of Europe’s ECRML Committee of Experts, the EU Commission, and regional and national level politicians, where ELEN will call for the Italian ratification of the language Charter. Italy signed the Charter in 2000 but, like France, has since failed to ratify it.

In addition, ELEN will call on the Sardinian Regional Government and Italy to make substantive and comprehensive steps for Sardinian language recovery.

A record number of ELEN delegates will be in Cagliari during the week for the Babel Film Festival starting on Monday 2nd October, with the General Assembly starting on Friday 6th October with an official reception hosted by the Babel Film Festival, the Regional Government of Sardinia and the Mayor of Casteddu. The opening event features a presentation by Linguapax and the launch of ‘My Culture’ – the first ever Netflix style streaming platform dedicated to minoritized language film and TV .

The General Assembly will be held on Saturday October 7th in the splendid surroundings of the Palazzo Regio starting with a welcome address from the ELEN President and Secretary-General, the Sardinian Regional Government, and the Mayor of Cagliari.

The gathering will also feature a Plenary Speech by the distinguished academic Prof. Colin Williams, well-known for his work on language planning and policy, followed by a panel on how effective Sardinian language recovery can be achieved with experts from Wales, the Basque Country and Catalonia.

A second panel will feature the highly topical subject of EU official status for Catalan, Galican and Basque, currently being discussed by EU Member-States following Spain’s proposal for official status in July. The panel will discuss the current situation and the implications of achieving official status for the three languages and on other territorial languages.

Panel three will discuss the current situation for the territorial languages in France with the UN Special Rapporteur, Dr. Fernand de Varennes, and NGOs from Brittany, Alsace, Occitan, North Catalonia and the Basque Country. Panel four will discuss improving support for Catalan in L’Alguer with experts from the town, the Catalan Government and the Sardinian Government. 

The meeting continues in the afternoon with ELEN Business for members only, votes on member’s resolutions, welcoming new members (University of Warsaw, University of Poznan, the Centre for Sámi Studies at Nord University, and the Irish NGO Glór na Móna), and short presentations on a range of language related issues.

The General Assembly is being hosted by the Babel Film Festival running from Monday 2nd October to Saturday 7th October.

In the run-up to the meeting two conferences will be held. On Wednesday 4th October Babel Film Festival hosts a conference on Sardinian with experts from Italy and ELEN Secretary-General Davyth Hicks, speaking. On Thursday RAI TV holds a conference on its work in helping to promote Italian territorial languages with the ELEN President, Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones, speaking. (Eurolang 2023)

Babel Film Festival