ECMI participates in launch of ECRML legal commentary
The Kaisersaal of the Hamburg City Hall was a perfect frame for the presentation of the book and its authors on 19 July. An intensive work of 2 years of discussions in different places – from Föhr in Nordfriesland (with participation of ECMI Deputy Director Ewa Chylinski) to Innsbruck and Bautzen, the Commentary focused on the relationship of several actors involved – the Council of Europe, national states, federal states or cantons and language groups – in the application and implementation of the provisions of the Charter.
In the context of three federal German-speaking states - Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the Commentary investigated how this formal state structure affects effective implementation of the ECRML provisions in a positive manner, allowing for local particularities. On the other hand, it may also be difficult to harmonise provisions for the same language across various federal structures. One such example of difficulties is the regional language of Low German in Germany, stretching over 8 federal states, each with its own legal system and differentiated ECRML commitments.
Although the Commentary refers to the federal states, its detailed review of individual articles are also relevant for unitary states. The general trend of decentralisation and devolution of the authority and responsibility from the central state level to the regional and local levels, has created a similar situation. The local authorities are closest to the minorities inhabiting municipalities and regions and would know best about the educational and cultural needs of individual regional or minority languages, as well as their use in the public sphere. Also the speakers should know about the legal provisions for their languages.
ECMI is examining the ECRML in its Culture & Diversity Research Cluster in the broad sense of culture protection and promotion instrument as minority languages are an organic part of the cultural heritage and outlook of Europe. ECMI also hosts Council of Europe Language Guides to assist the speakers in the daily application of the ECRML provisions in their respective countries.
Place and date: Hamburg, 19 July 2011
Contact: Ewa Chylinski, Chylinski [@] ecmi.de