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MULTILINGUALISM : COE CRITICAL OF GERMAN AND DUTCH TREATMENT OF MINORITY LANGUAGES.

Germany has failed to implement in practice the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, according to a third report by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers. Another report, issued on 9 July, criticised the Netherlands for not taking sufficient measures in favour of the Frisian language. The report on Germany, drawn up by a committee of independent experts and foreseen by the charter, considers that North Frisian, Sater Frisian and Lower Sorbian are particularly endangered languages. The Council's Committee of Ministers urges the German authorities to adopt legislation to preserve the threatened languages. Key recommendations in the 100-page report are that German authorities ensure that primary and secondary education is made available in these languages. Measures should also be taken so that these languages are used on radio and television.

A further recommendation of the Council of Europe is that Germany improve provision of education and provide adequate resources in Upper Sorbian, Low German and Romani. More generally, Germany needs to take measures so that all its minority languages can be used when dealing with administration and courts. Under the charter, Danish, Upper Sorbian, Lower Sorbian, North Frisian, Sater Frisian, Low German and Romani are defined as regional or minority languages protected in Germany.

As for the Netherlands, the country needs to develop a national language policy for Limburgish and Low Saxon. The Council of Europe also wants more action in education, including for the Romanes language.

Forthcoming reports to be adopted should be on Austria and Serbia (probably before the end of the year) with Sweden, Spain and Ukraine to follow early next year.

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Publication:European Report
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Jul 11, 2008
Words:267
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