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Chapter 2: The Community Action in favour of regional or minority languages in the EU. An evaluation of the projects funded, with particular reference to the reasons for their success or failure.

2.1. Community Action in favour of the regional or minority languages in the EU: background.

As stated above, a specific budget line, B3-1006, was established in 1983 to promote regional or minority language. The amount budgeted increased from €100,000 in 1983 to €3·5M in 1993, and remaining fairly stable up to 1998:




Year

83

84

85

86

87

88

89

90

91

92

93

94

95

96

97

98

€M

0·1

0·2

0·34

0·68

0·86

1·0

1·0

1·1

2·0

2·5

3·5

3·5

4·0

4·0

3·7

4·0

The budget aimed: (a) to cover the essential needs of several organisations which the Parliament considers essential for the sector (EBLUL and the Mercator centres, see below) and (b) to support specific projects, usually with short-term funding, to promote one or more languages. Funding in 1999 & 2000 was through budget line B3-1000 (except for EBLUL & Mercator, which as institutions of European interest were co-funded through budget line A-3015). A breakdown for 1992-2000 gives the following.




(€ thousands)

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

Mercator Education

90

137

125

121

93

76

0

65

67

Mercator Media

40

42

63

83

94

99

0

74

67

Mercator Legislation

0

60

76

87

103

92

0

63

67

Total Mercator Centres

130

239

264

291

290

267

068

202

202

Study Visits Programme

84

88

98

105

117

118

100

-

-

EBLUL Dublin Office

294

316

415

522

522

397

172

-

-

EBLUL Brussels Office

289

242

289

328

328

346

228

-

-

Total EBLUL

667

646

802

955

967

743

50069

798

797

Miscellaneous projects

1703

2615

2434

2746

2807

2991

3367

2479

2499

TOTAL

2500

3500

3500

3992

4064

3734

3867

3479

3499

It was administered by the Task Force ‘Human Resources, Education, Training and Youth’ which in 1995 became DG XXII. Unit A-4, responsible for actions related to linguistic competence, and open, distance adult education, managed all activities related to minority and regional languages until the DG Education and Culture was created in 1999, when a new Language Policy unit was established.


The European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages70 (EBLUL): In the 1983 Resolution (see footnote 10), the Commission was called upon to support the setting up of an organisation to represent minority or regional language speakers at the European level. Since then EBLUL has brought teachers, journalists and professionals from many other fields, including language activists, into a tightly woven European network. Its 13 Member State committees representing local organisations and movements involve at the State level many actors with little prior knowledge of each other and virtually no record of developing common stances. Its work as disseminator and consultant, coordinator, and lobby, is acknowledged by its member organisations, by the Assembly of European Regions71, etc.
Mercator72 is a network of three research and documentation centres which strives to provide reliable, objective information about minority languages in the EU. It was set up after the 1986 Kuijpers Resolution and has developed in parallel with Union and Council of Europe policies for the protection of minorities, equal citizenship, the promotion of linguistic diversity, and access to the information society. Mercator-Education at the Fryske Akademy (Ljouwert, Fryslân, The Netherlands) studies education; Mercator-Legislation at the CIEMEN foundation (Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain), is concerned with language legislation and language in public administration; and Mercator-Media at the University of Wales Aberystwyth (Wales, United Kingdom) deals with the media, including the new media. They are linked electronically, meet regularly, and are closely linked on the Internet.
Following the Court of Justice Judgment C-106/96 of 12 May 199873, line B3-1006 was suspended because of the lack of a legal basis, and €2·5M was allocated annually under budget line B3-1000 to finance preparatory measures for a multi-annual programme in support of regional and minority languages and cultures for 1999-2001.

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