The Catalan National Assembly will back the European Citizen’s Initiative “National Regions” ( nationalregions.eu). This will promote the collection of signatures in support of the project from among its members and supporters, and from the Catalan population in general
Catalonia is a beacon for stateless nations, national communities and minorities in the European Union. Our involvement in political initiatives for the recognition of national rights in Europe is part of our country’s vocation and responsibility, and it also makes sense within a strategy to win sympathies and alliances.
From the Catalan National Assembly, we call on the European Commission to respect the rights of all national minorities, and to stop hampering the right to self-determination. We wish to show our solidarity, especially with those territories with a national identity that do not even see their right to autonomy recognized. It is urgent that these national regions are able to speak directly with Brussels and manage cohesion funds. The authorities closest to its citizens know best what measures are most appropriate for their development and future, rather than a distant capital that treats them as second- or third-class citizens.
Assemblea already helped promote the successful “Minority Safepack” European Citizens’ Initiative in 2018, to better protect non-official languages. As with the “National Regions” ECI, the European Commission initially rejected the registration of Minority Safepack, but the Court of Justice of the European Union ended up imposing it.
In 2019, the Catalan National Assembly, together with the Council for the Catalan Republic, also launched their own European Citizens’ Initiative. It denounced the violation of the civil and political rights of the Catalan people by the Kingdom of Spain and called for sanctions to be imposed in accordance with Article 7 of the EU Treaty. The European Commission once again refused to register an initiative to protect minorities. The organizations filed an appeal with the Court of Justice of the EU, which is pending resolution.
On the “National Regions” European Citizen’s Initiative ( nationalregions.eu)
There are communities in the European Union that do not even have their right to autonomy recognized, and therefore, at the initiative of the Székely—a Hungarian-speaking ethnic group living mainly in Transylvania in modern-day Romania—a European Citizens’ Initiative was launched in order for the EU to take into account and legislate specifically to recognize the right of self-determination of territorial communities with the traits of a nation, which they call “national regions: ECI Cohesion policy for the equality of regions and the preservation of regional cultures”
The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is a European legislative mechanism, akin to a popular legislative initiative. If its promoters reach one million signatures in a year with a minimum threshold of 7 or more member states, the European Commission is compelled to take it into consideration. They may decide not to take any action in this regard, but they must justify not doing so . In Spain, the current threshold is 40,500 signatures.
The aim of this European Citizens’ Initiative is for the European Commission to give national territorial communities formal recognition and direct access to EU regional development funds, even if their state doesn’t recognize their right to autonomy, without having to go through the state capital. This new mechanism would provide them with additional funding for their specific needs, to complement the resources these territories already receive from other EU funding programs.
The European Commission refused to register the initiative and argued that it has no competence in matters of protection of national minorities. However, after the organizers resorted to the European justice and won, they had to abide and register it on April 30, 2019. The decision came into force on May 7, 2019; but because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the deadline for signature collection has been extended until November 7, 2020.
The ECI in the defence of the national regions is promoted by the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN.org), several European regionalist and national parties and the European Free Alliance (EFA, e-f-a.org).