In XXI century Europe, what borders do you actually need to cross to be considered a migrant? by Nuria Franco Guillen

News / 09.6.16

Nuria Franco Guillen delivered the Lecture: “Language, ethnic or civic element?” at the Migrations and Minorities conference organised by Centre Maurits Coppieters, Ezkerraberri Fundazioa and the university EHUgune (Bilbao, 26 May 2016).

She addressed the issue of Europe’s linguistic and cultural diversity. With a European Union that is home to more than 80 indigenous languages, The majority of them are minority languages which do not have official status, should we consider language as an ethnic or civic element of identity. This issue is of a great importance once again because of a large number of migrants arriving in Europe and the challenge this poses: not only  for their reception, accommodation and social integration, but also for the unexpected consequences for specific minority groups or communities.

In Europe in the XXI century “What is a majority nation, what is a minority community, how many borders do you have to cross in Europe Today to be considered a migrant, how do you become a member of national community and can be considered considered as equal?” Wonders Franco Guillen.

To answer to this question “you may look at ethnic nationalism theories, which point at objective elements such as skin color, blood or religion or to civic nationalism, based on the will to belong to a community”.

When discussing languages and minority nations, Franco Guillen admits difficulties to assess whether language as part an element of identity should be considered as an ethnic or civic element. What she considers truly relevant is the discourse of the political elites and whether Language is accepted as a decisive factor for belonging to a community.