Meeting in Pécs, Baranya-H at the occasion of a seminar organised by the Assembly of European Regions (AER), 38 regions from 14 European countries set today a milestone in the field of ethnic minorities integration, by signing up to a declaration that firmly commits them to concrete targets in this field.
The "Regions' Declaration on the Integration of Ethnic Minorities", officially adopted today in the Hungarian city of Pécs, sets binding objectives for the regions in politics and in the fields of media, gender equality, employment, educational, youth and housing policies. Among the most important chapters adopted in the Declaration are:
- the region's commitment to having ethnic minorities represented in regional governments, as well as the need to ensure that their interests are reflected in all policy areas;
- a better promotion of ethnic diversity in regional communication policies and in the local media, so that a rounded view of society is presented;
- a special attention to women belonging to these minorities: it is often them who are marginalised inside not only society at large, but also within smaller ethnic communities;
- the creation of diverse employment opportunities, in co-operation with trade unions, chambers of commerce and business associations;
- the representation of ethnic minorities in the education system, together with a better teaching of the value of diversity to youngsters across Europe.
"Equal opportunities for all are a fundamental value for Hungary and for the European Union. When the countries of Central and Eastern Europe entered the EU, they brought with them their ethnic minorities. With the continuous enlargement of the European Union, European society will only become more diverse. We want the EU to acknowledge the particular issues that Central and Eastern Europe must address regarding minorities. The regions hope that the EU will establish the necessary legislative framework to encourage integration and respect for ethnic minorities across Europe," stated Dr János Hargitai, President of Baranya County Council (H) and host of the meeting.
The Declaration contains key recommendations to the European Union, on the occasion of the "European Year of Equal Opportunities - 2007", and a commitment on behalf of the European regions to take action on this issue.
Link to the Regional Declaration on the Integration of Ethnic Minorities (available 2nd April):
The Assembly of European Regions-AER (www.a-e-r.org) is the political organisation of Regions in Europe and their spokesperson at European and international level. Its vocation is to defend the Regions' interests In the political process and develop interregional cooperation. AER brings together 250 Regions from 32 European Countries and 14 interregional organisations.
AER Contacts: Sergio Nava, Spokesperson, firstname.lastname@example.org - Mobile: +33 678695235, Tel.: +33 3 88 22 74 36; Francine Huhardeaux, Press Officer, email@example.com - Mobile: +33 678 695203, Tel. +33 3 88 22 74 49