Welsh Conservative MEP hails "wake-up call" in the battle to save Europe's endangered languages

11-Sep-2013 @ 13:0

Kay Swinburne Kay Swinburne

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Welsh Conservative MEP Kay Swinburne today hailed a vote in the European Parliament as a "wake-up call" in the battle to save Europe's endangered languages.

MEPs meeting in Strasbourg backed a report which calls on governments across the EU to develop action plans to encourage continued linguistic diversity.

The report, written by Corsican MEP François Alfonsi, also says governments should be "more attentive" to threats which may lead to languages becoming extinct.

Dr Swinburne, who was a shadow rapporteur for the report, has argued that Welsh can be seen as a positive example of language revitalisation which communities across the EU should follow.

Welsh is officially classified as a minority language under the terms of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

Speaking after today's vote in the European Parliament, Dr Swinburne said: "This report is a wake-up call for governments across the European Union and for all those who want to preserve and promote linguistic diversity.

"Languages are not simply a means of communication, they are also a vital part of our culture.

"As an MEP for Wales and a Welsh speaker, I have witnessed first-hand the vital contribution the Welsh language makes to communities across the country.

"It is a matter of grave concern, however, that many languages across Europe are now classified as endangered and risk dying out altogether.

"If we are to succeed in safeguarding endangered European languages then we need to follow best-practice examples, such as in Wales where Welsh is used widely in everyday life.

"I welcome the fact this report recognises that some Member States have already taken proactive measures to reduce the threat to some languages.

"By backing this report MEPs have also sent a clear signal that all governments and European institutions can and must do more."

« Back