With 84% of Europeans agreeing that European endangered languages need to be protected, its vital that political parties act on this huge public support in the next European Parliament.

ELEN, the international civil society organization for the protection and development of European endangered and minoritized languages, has issued its policy priorities to MEP candidates in the upcoming European elections.

The ELEN campaign has been boosted by the recent release of new figures from Eurobarometer indicating that a huge majority of European citizens, 84%, fully support protection for European ‘regional’ or minority languages.

Speaking to the press, ELEN Secretary-General Davyth Hicks, said that: “We are delighted to see that the EU Commission’s own research shows the huge levels of public support across Europe for the protection of our languages. The new European Parliament and European Commission must now act on this public support and take the measures necessary, outlined in ELEN’s policy proposals, to ensure a sustainable future for European endangered and minoritized languages.”

ELEN President, Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones, added, “Building a sustainable future for European endangered and minoritized languages requires an act of choice: if we do nothing, they will disappear. At grassroots level, activist organizations and researchers have worked with ELEN to produce the 10 key policy priorities for the new European Parliament to adopt. We now need politicians to commit to the principle of language sustainability and to implement the policy actions required to make it a reality today and for future generations.”

The ELEN Steering Committee will be meeting in Barcelona soon after the election and analysing what the results will mean for the organisation’s advocacy work.

The meeting will be followed by a landmark conference, co-organized with Catesco and Omnium Cultural, on Saturday June 15th with speakers from the Council of Europe, UN, UNESCO, legal experts, and ELEN member organisations, that will discuss next steps in strengthening language rights and that will help to guide future advocacy work.

ELEN’s ten key policy priorities for the 2024 European elections have been sent to most political groups and their candidates and are listed below.

ELEN policy proposals and general measures for the safeguarding of European territorial and endangered languages.

1) EU Regulation for European endangered and minoritised languages that ensures development and legal protection for these languages.
3) EU Languages Ombudsperson (or Commissioner) to oversee the implementation of language rights and protection.
4) Expand the scope of Article 19 of the TFEU to include discrimination on the grounds of language and being from a national minority.
5) Discrimination against European endangered languages to trigger EU infringement proceedings.
6) EU Regulation to ensure digital language equality.
7) EU financial support for ELEN so as to ensure funding for urgent endangered language community projects.
8) EU Framework Strategy to protect and develop European endangered and minoritised languages.
9) Full EU official language status for Catalan, Basque and Galician, with other European minoritized languages to be added.
10) Establish an endangered or minoritized languages Intergroup in the European Parliament that works with ELEN to help develop effective language recovery and maintenance policies for these languages. (Eurolang 2024)

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