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Bairbre de Brún urges EU to fully embrace multilingualism

14 November, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún will this evening urge the European Union and its institutions to 'embrace multiculturalism not only in word, but in deed also.'

Ms de Brún will speak tonight in a European Parliament debate on a report by Bernat Joan MEP, which recommends an EU language plan and project funding for the most endangered languages.

Speaking from Strasbourg Ms de Brún said:

"It is my hope that the report presented to the European Parliament by Bernat Joan MEP, and the subsequent amendments, provide the basis for a coherent, meaningful EU language policy.

"Sinn Féin believes that cultural and linguistic diversity is a measure of a truly open and pluralist society. It is particularly important that lesser used languages are protected and promoted. Much important work has already taken place. However, the EU institutions need to do much more to ensure that the EU is truly representative and multilingual not only in word, but in deed also.

"I am therefore supporting calls for an EU Language Plan and for project funding for the most endangered languages, for the Ebner report to be implemented in full, for the EU ombudsman to have an explicit mandate to act in cases of language-based discrimination, and for a working group to be set up that can work towards giving a legal base to the concept of "respect for linguistic diversities".

"I will be speaking at a conference in Dublin on November 24th on "The Legacy of the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages and the future of lesser used languages in the EU". It is also important that NGOs such as the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages receive continued funding.

"For too long, minority languages in the EU have either been ignored or allowed to languish. It is time we promoted our rich linguistic heritage not only in Ireland but across Europe also." ENDS

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