The European Language Equality Network Steering Committee met in the Catalan capital, Barcelona, on Friday 14th June to discuss the ELEN-Catesco conference on June 15th, its ongoing advocacy strategy, recent election results, the upcoming General Assembly in the Basque Country in November, and recent successful project applications. The meeting was hosted by Òmnium Cultural.

The ELEN Steering Committee, with delegates from member organisations in Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Catalonia, Fryslan, Galicia, Basque Country, Sardinia, Brittany, Illes Balears, Germany, and Valencia, focused mostly on the organization of the upcoming General Assembly in Bilbao which will be hosted by the leading Basque language umbrella organization, Kontseilua. The main theme of this year’s General Assembly will be on the importance of public policies for the normalization of minoritized languages.

The Steering Committee also discussed the overarching objective of the high-level conference on Saturday, in partnership with Catesco and co-organised by Omnium Cultural, to examine new tactics and strategies in advocacy work that will be effective in securing better protection for European endangered and minoritized languages in what is becoming an increasingly hostile political environment.

As well as ELEN business the meeting discussed a range of current issues affecting language recovery and maintenance and how to deal with these challenges in terms of ELEN’s ongoing advocacy work.

The meeting was followed by the official welcoming reception and dinner for conference speakers and ELEN members. It was addressed by the ELEN Secretary-General Davyth Hicks, ELEN President Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones, ELEN Vice-President Elena Jimenez (Òmnium Cultural), the UN Special Rapporteur for Minorities, Nicolas Levrat, the President of the Advisory Committee of the Council of Europe Framework Convention for National Minorites, Petra Roter, the Armenian representative on the Committee of Experts of the Council of Europe’s European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, Lusine Kharatyan, UNESCO representative Tamara Marti Casado, the Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Meritxell Serret, and the Catalan Government Secretary for Language Policy, F. Xavier Vila.

Music for the event was provided by the Catalan jazz trio Massimiliano Biondi, and Catalan cava provided by the Gramona winery.

ELEN wishes to thank Elia Varela, Sergi Calopa, Elena Jimenez (Omnium), and Marina Gay, Geda Requena and Eulalia Sanz (Catesco) for their expert assistance in organising the event. (Eurolang 2024)

Photo album of the Conference and Reception