Identity and Culture Workshop

The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages: an effective reference or just another piece of paper?

Events / Tue 17 Oct 2023 09:15

From the Atlantic to the Urals, from the Arctic to the Mediterranean, the European continent is a complex mosaic of peoples, cultures, and languages. More than 200 languages belonging to different language families are spoken here. European languages present heterogeneous demographic, political and sociolinguistic situations, conditioned by the size of their respective communities and their history. In fact, European states have been configured based on national languages, endowed with all the legal-political prerogatives, in some cases with a lower number of speakers than Catalan.

The political benefits have broadened the social reach of these state languages and favoured their formal development. On the other hand, there are linguistic modalities banished from the processes of nation building, exposed to deterioration and the threat of extinction. These imbalances were taken over by the Council of Europe. Created in 1949 in Strasbourg, where its headquarters are located, it encompasses 46 member states.

In an attempt to unite this continuum, in November 1992 the Council of Europe approved the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, with the aim of legally protecting languages that do not have state status and promoting their use in all social spheres. However, given that the Council of Europe does not have an effective supranational power, the Member States have followed different policies towards the Charter: signing and ratifying it, in the case of Spain; subscribing it but without its ratification protocol, in the case of France; or to be left out, without adhering to it, in the case of Turkey.

It is worth mentioning that the Charter is a short text. It consists of 23 articles structured in four parts: 1. Definitions; 2. Objectives and principles; 3. Protection measures and 4. Application.

In this last section, the Charter provides that reports will be issued every three years on each Member State on the degree of compliance with the second and third paragraphs, i.e. the objectives of equalizing the languages to be protected and the specific actions promoted in each country, in the areas of the public sphere.

This Identity and Culture Workshop organised by the Coppieters Foundation and Fundaciò Nexe aims at analysing the theoretical foundations, the results achieved, as well as the future challenges posed by the Charter. The debate is open to an extensive list of issues, from the conceptual bases and terminology used by the Charter itself, to the analysis of each language, given the historical series of reports that have taken place since 1995, through the political effectiveness of these reports or their impact on public opinion in each Council of Europe’s Member State.

To address these and other issues, we have brought together experts from various minority languages. The differences among sociolinguistic contexts will offer a well-rounded vision, essential to move towards a more plural and fairer Europe.


17 October 2023

Accreditation & Welcome
Welcoming words
Compliance with the European Charter by Member States

Fernando Ramallo, Professor of General Linguistics at the University of Vigo and member of the Committee of Experts on the European Charter between 2013 and 2019

Presented by: Raquel Casesnoves, lecturer at the Department of Catalan Philology (UV)

Coffee Break
Roundtable: Minority languages in Europe

Myriam Guillevic, professor of Breton at the University of Rennes (Breton)

Bernadette O’Rourke, Professor of Sociolinguistics and Hispanic Studies at the University of Glasgow (Irish)

David Córdoba Bou, traveling communicator (Sami)

 Moderator: Josep Àngel Mas, lecturer at the Department of Applied Linguistics (UPV)


Can we have a good system of linguistic rights in a multilingual European state?

Vicenta Tasa, Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Valencia

Presented by: Susanna Pardines, coordinator of the Identity and Culture Lab of Fundaciò Nexe

Analysis of a report presented by a Member State to the Council of Europe on compliance with the Charter.

Xabier Arzoz, Professor of Administrative Law at the National University of Distance Education

Presented by: Rafael Castelló, professor of the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology (UV)

Roundtable: Minority languages in Europe
  • Reglindis De Ridder, Professor of Dutch Studies at Stockholm University (Dutch)
  • Guglielmo Cevolin, Professor of Public Law at the University of Udine (Friulian)
  • Tore Cubeddu, Graduate in Philosophy and master in Storytelling. Director of Terra de Punt (Sardinian)

Moderator: Anselm Bodoque, professor at the Department of Constitutional Law, Political Science and Administration (UV)


Presented by Miquel Nicolàs, professor of the Department of Catalan Philology (UV)

Closing remarks

Gonçal Grau i Muedra, member of the Bureau of the Coppieters Foundation



When: 17 October 2023

Where: Sala Refectori, Centre del Carme de Cultura Contemporània, Valencia

Interpretation services to/from Spanish and English.

You can register to the Identity and Culture workshop through this form


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The Identity and Culture Workshop is a joint initiative of Fundaciò Nexe and Coppieters Foundation.

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This event is financially supported by the European Parliament. The European Parliament is not liable for the content of the event nor the opinions of the speakers.

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