minority culture in Romania
Further to its report
on the endangered Uralic minority cultures in Russia and the adoption
of Resolution 1171 (1998)
the Assembly is concerned about the situation of the Csango minority
culture, which has existed in Romania for centuries.
Csangos (Ceangăi in Romanian) are a non-homogeneous group of Roman
Catholic people. This ethnic group is a relic from the Middle Ages that
has survived in Moldavia, in the eastern part of the Romanian Carpathians.
Csangos speak an early form of Hungarian and are associated with ancient
traditions, and a great diversity of folk art and culture, which is of
exceptional value for Europe.
the self-identity of the Csangos was based on the Roman Catholic religion
and their own language spoken in the family and the village community.
This, as well as their archaic lifestyle and world view, may explain
their very strong ties to the Roman Catholic religion and the survival
of their dialect.
who still speak Csango or consider it their mother tongue have been declining
as a proportion of the population. Although not everybody agrees on this
number it is thought that between 60 000 and 70 000 people speak the
Today in Moldavia, the
language of the school and the church is Romanian. There is local teaching
in Ukrainian and the study of Polish, Roma and Russian as mother tongues.
Despite the provisions of the Romanian law on education and the repeated
requests from parents there is no teaching of Csango language in the
Csango villages. As a consequence, very few Csangos know how to write
their mother tongue.
The Csangos make no political
demands, but merely want to be recognised as a distinct culture. They
ask for assistance in safeguarding it and, first and foremost they demand
that their children be taught the Csango language and that their church
services be held in their mother tongue.
The Assembly recalls
the texts which it has adopted on related matters, notably Recommendation 928
(1981) on the educational and cultural problems of minority languages
and dialects in Europe, Recommendation 1203 (1993)
on Gypsies in Europe, Recommendation 1283 (1996)
on history and the learning of history in Europe, Recommendation 1291 (1996)
on Yiddish culture and Recommendation 1333 (1997)
on the Aromanian culture and language.
Diversity of cultures
and languages should be seen as a precious resource that enriches our
European heritage and also reinforces the identity of each nation and
individual. Assistance on the European level, and in particular from
the Council of Europe, is justified to save any particular culture and
is needed in the case of the Csangos.
The Assembly therefore
recommends that the Committee of Ministers encourage Romania to ratify
and implement the European Charter of Regional or Minority Languages
and to support the Csangos, particularly in the following cases:
the possibility to
be educated in the mother tongue should be ensured in accordance with
the Romanian Constitution and the legislation on education. In the
meantime classrooms should be made available in local schools and teachers
working in the villages teaching the Csango language should be paid;
parents should be informed of the Romanian legislation on education
and instructions should be issued on how to apply for its provisions
should be an option for Roman Catholic services in the Csango language
in the churches in Csango villages and the possibility for the Csangos
to sing hymns in their own mother tongue;
Csango associations should be officially recognised and supported.
Particular attention should be paid to the correct registration of
the Csango minority at the next official census;
to modern mass media facilities should be promoted. Financial support
should be given to Csango associations in accordance with the availability
of funds, in order to help them to express actively their own identity
(in particular through the issuing of a monthly publication and the
functioning of a local radio station);
programmes should be set up for the promotion of Csango culture in
the context of raising awareness of and respect for minorities. International
discussions and seminars of experts should be organised to study the
information campaign should be launched in Romania concerning the Csango
culture and the advantages of co-operation between the majority and
unique linguistic and ethnographical features of the Csangos should
be appropriately recorded;
economic revival of the area should be encouraged, for example, through
the establishment of small and medium-sized enterprises in Csango villages.
adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly,
on 23 May 2001 (see Doc. 9078,
report of the Committee on Culture, Science and Education, rapporteur: