“The lines of action of NPLD are in line with the Commission’s work programme”. These were the words uttered by the Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics in the meeting held with the NPLD Chair and Vice-minister for Language Policy of the Basque Country, Patxi Baztarrika. The meeting, the first held between the NPLD President and the Commissioner, has served to highlight the work developed by the NPLD in terms of promotions, visibility and profile of Europe’s Constitutional, Regional and Small-state languages.
Baztarrika, along with NPLD’s Vice-chairs Sabrina Rasom (Ladin community in Fassa Valley, Italy) and Alex Riemersma (Frisian community, Netherlands), presented to the Commissioner the NPLD’s Roadmap to Promote Linguistic diversity, the NPLD’s core document containing the NPLD’s work programme, approved by all members 36 members of NPLD, which include 14 regional and State governments as well as 22 associations and universities. “We can help you implement the Roadmap and we can finds potential avenues for collaboration” – highlighted the Commissioner.
Baztarrika also noted in the meeting the decreasing interest in issues related to linguistic diversity at EU level and gave some examples during the meeting. Languages such as Welsh, Catalan, Basque, Corsican, Breton, Frisian, Ladin or Friulian, to name only a few European languages, cannot participate in EU initiatives such as the Juvenes Traslatores translation contest, the IATE terminology database or the Commission’s Linguistic Support Online Platform, as they are not official languages in the EU. “Given the increasing number of disaffected European citizens with the European Project, it is of paramount importance to adopt more inclusive language policies, in which all the language communities are included and participate on equal footing in the European project” – emphasized Baztarrika.
Commissioner Navracsics was very receptive to the ideas highlighted by Baztarrika and announced that one of the priorities of the Commission for next year will the launch of a debate about the importance of higher education to promote the languages and culture of regions as a source of social cohesion, economic strength and regional development.