ECMI Unveils Key Findings on ECRML Stalemate in Presentation to ComEx

© Council of Europe

The European minority rights protection regime is arguably stuck on a plateau, with few advancements taking place following the gradual stabilization of existing frameworks and institutions since the 1990s. One notable example of this immobility is that the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML) has not been ratified by a new member state since 2010, and barely over half of the Council of Europe’s 46 member states have committed to the Charter via ratification.

To understand this deadlock, the ECMI commissioned seven studies of countries that have either not signed or not ratified the ECRML. Examples include France, which signed the Charter in 1999 but has not ratified it in over two decades. Similarly long delays in ratification have affected Italy and North Macedonia. Although Portugal and Moldova appear close to ratification, countries like Albania and Ireland have not even undertaken a signature.

Each of these cases has its own difficulties and particularities. However, for the sake of the European project, they should be addressed within both the countries themselves and the Council of Europe.

To this end, the ECMI organized a special exchange of views on June 20 with the ECRML’s central monitoring body, the Committee of Experts, in Strasbourg. During the hour-long session, the ECMI’s research team presented the results of their research, addressing both country-specific and overarching issues involved with expanding the number of state parties to the Charter.

This event represented an important opportunity for the ECMI to present its academic research – slated to be published next year in the European Yearbook of Minority Issues – directly to the concerned stakeholders. Following the ComEx exchange of views, the ECMI organized a reception attended by several country representatives, including those from the studied countries.

Follow-up dialogue with both individual countries and the Council of Europe will now take place to explore how the ECMI can further facilitate the signature and/or ratification process for countries still not adherent to the ECRML.

A summary of the presentation, along with recommendations and case studies, can be found in the booklet here.

This project parallels a similar ECMI study underway about the effectiveness of monitoring by the Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. These results will be similarly presented in Strasbourg in October.


Join us for an upcoming online talk on June 26, focusing on the stalemate in the ratification of the Charter. For more details and to participate, please click here.

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