Doc. 9540

11 September 2002

Application of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages

Communication

by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Biennial report by the Secretary General to the Parliamentary Assembly

Introduction

Under the terms of Article 16.5 of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, the Secretary General is required to present a two-yearly report to the Parliamentary Assembly on the application of the Charter. The Charter entered into force in March 1998. The first report of the Secretary General of this nature was presented to the Parliamentary Assembly in October 2000 (Doc. 8879 of 18 October 2000). This second report contains information on how the Charter has evolved as a monitoring instrument evaluating and contributing to the advancement of regional or minority language policy in the States Parties.

The state of signatures and ratifications

As of 27 August 2002, the Charter had been signed by 291 States, of which 172 had ratified it. The list of signatures and ratifications is attached in Appendix 1. In my last report of 2000 I underlined the disappointingly slow rate of ratification. However, since that time there has been a 26% increase in signatures and a 70% increase in ratifications. Overall, such an increase in ratification is good, but we need to persuade more of our member States to move towards signature and this rhythm of ratification needs to be maintained. At present many of the signatory States are in a position to ratify the treaty and they should be encouraged to do so. Many of the non-signatory or non-ratifying States are also under an explicit obligation to the Organisation to do so.

The following States undertook, upon accession to the Council of Europe, to sign and ratify the Charter within a certain time limit.

Member State

Assembly Opinion

Deadline for signing and ratifying the Charter

Date of signature

Date of ratification

Albania

189(1995)

     

Armenia

221(2000)

25/01/2002

11/05/2002

01/05/2002

Azerbaijan

222(2000)

25/01/2002

21/12/2001

 

Bosnia- Herzegovina

234(2002)

24/04/2004

   

Croatia

195(1996)

06/11/1996

05/11/1997

05/11/1997

Georgia

209(1999)

27/04/2000

   

Moldova

188(1995)

13/07/1996

11/07/2002

 

Russia

193(1996)

28/02/1998

10/05/2001

 

Ukraine

190(1995)

09/11/1996

02/05/1996

 

"The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"

191 (1995)

09/11/1996

25/07/1996

 

It must be recognised, of course, that in certain of these States the ratification of the Charter – which is a complex matter in itself involving careful adaptation of undertakings to the situation of each language – is further complicated by the number of languages involved and/or by the complexities of the political situation. Therefore, the assessment of the compliance with the undertaking to sign and ratify the Charter should be made in conjunction with an attentive monitoring of the evolution in the States concerned.

At the same time a number of older member states of the Council of Europe have not yet ratified the Charter. Many of these states have on their territories a significant number of regional or minority languages which could be helped by the Charter to receive the necessary protection and promotion to maintain their use in public and in private life. I would like to stress the need for these states to engage in a public dialogue that could raise awareness of the importance of protecting these languages and ratifying the Charter.

The monitoring system

The key element in the good functioning of the Charter is its control mechanism, established to evaluate the real application of the Charter in the States Parties and, where necessary, recommend improvements in their legislation, policy and practice. The Charter having been in force since 1998, it is now safe to say that the monitoring mechanism is functioning properly. The central element of this mechanism is the independent Committee of Experts. Its task is to report to the Committee of Ministers on its assessment of compliance by a Party with its undertakings. The Committee’s role is to evaluate, in the light of each State's undertakings under the Charter, the existing legal acts, regulations and actual practice applied to its regional or minority languages. It has established its working methods accordingly. The Committee gathers information both from the relevant authorities and from independent sources within the State, so as to obtain a just and fair overview of the real language situation.

After a preliminary examination of the initial periodical report presented by a State Party, the Committee submits, if necessary, a number of questions to the government concerned to procure supplementary information on matters it considers insufficiently developed in the report itself. This written procedure is usually followed up by an “on-the-spot visit” of a delegation of the Committee to the respective State. During this visit the delegation meets bodies and associations whose work is closely related to the use of the relevant languages, and consults the authorities on matters that have been brought to its attention. This information-gathering process is designed to enable the Committee to better evaluate the application of the Charter in the State concerned.

Having concluded this process, the Committee of Experts adopts its own report. This report is submitted to the Committee of Ministers together with suggestions for recommendations that the latter could address to one or more Parties as may be required.

Given that the Parties are required to submit three-yearly reports on the measures they have taken to protect and promote regional or minority languages in accordance with the Charter, this monitoring process is designed to institute a permanent dialogue with each State and to encourage it to gradually reach a higher level of commitment.

In addition, experience shows that an important indirect effect of the monitoring procedure is to initiate a dialogue inside the State Party itself, between the users of the languages in question and those that are responsible for applying it in practice at national, regional or local level. Active participation in policy evaluation by those that are affected by the policy is an essential prerequisite for a real improvement of the situation of the regional or minority languages.

The Committee of Experts' reports and the Recommendations of the Committee of Ministers

So far, the Committee of Experts has adopted seven reports, on Croatia, Hungary, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. These reports have been made public by the Committee of Ministers and are available online3 or in paper form from the Charter's Secretariat in the Directorate of Co-operation for Local and Regional Democracy. In the first six cases, the Committee of Ministers has subsequently addressed Recommendations to the authorities concerned. These Recommendations, which have closely followed the proposals of the Committee of Experts, are reproduced in Appendix II to the present report.

Principal problem areas with regard to the protection and promotion of regional or minority languages

In its monitoring the Committee of Experts has been able to identify areas in which the application of the Charter is especially problematical. A few will be mentioned here. However, these problem areas should by no means be considered as exhaustive. In order to have a good overview of the real situation of the regional or minority languages, it is necessary to read each report separately, as the situation in the countries varies. The areas mentioned below have in common that they pose problems in several States Parties already examined by the Committee of Experts.

Education is a crucial and challenging field, in which it appears that similar problems exist in several States Parties, i.e. inadequacy of the conceptual and organisational framework for minority language education (at pre-school, primary school, secondary school), inadequate or even non-existent specific training for regional or minority language teachers and a serious lack of training materials.

The use of regional or minority languages before the courts is also a very difficult area. The legal provisions concerning regional or minority languages normally guarantee the possibility to use them, but in practice this possibility is availed of only in exceptional cases. Frequently, inadequate language skills on the part of the judicial personnel are compounded by a lack of qualified interpreters to whom recourse can be had in cases where a regional or minority language is used.

Similar problems are often found in the administrative authorities, where there is sometimes a serious lack of knowledge on the part of the officials about the obligation to produce or accept documents in a regional or minority language.

Equally serious, however, in relation both to administrative authorities and to the courts, is a frequent reluctance on the part of speakers of regional or minority languages to make use of the language facilities that the authorities are obliged to provide, for fear of being regarded as "trouble-makers". This shows that the effective protection and promotion of regional or minority languages often requires a change of mentalities, on the part of both the speakers of these languages and the representatives of the public authorities. This may be linked to the broader need to raise awareness among the majority language community of the existence of regional or minority languages and their place in the national cultural heritage.

Being largely absent from the media is a serious handicap to the maintenance and development of a language in the circumstances of modern society. This is particularly a problem for the smaller languages that do not represent an audience big enough to be of interest to commercially based media. The State therefore has a responsibility here to make sure that the special needs of regional or minority languages are sufficiently catered for especially in media with a public service mission. The extent to which it does so seems to vary considerably from one State Party to another.

In general, even where there is a general legal framework for fulfilling a State's undertakings under the Charter, the Committee of Experts has observed that concrete regulations capable of application by individual officials are often lacking, making the specific objectives difficult to attain. It has also concluded in several cases that there is a lack of a coherent policy for the protection and development especially of the weaker minority languages covered by Part II of the Charter.

The role of local and regional authorities

The Committee of Experts has confirmed in its reports that the role of local and regional authorities in protecting and promoting regional or minority languages is essential. This can especially be noted in fields such as education, local and regional administration, transfrontier exchanges, media, culture or health services for the sick and the elderly. The Committee has also noted in many cases that local and regional authorities have not been informed of the international commitments the State Party has undertaken by ratifying the Charter. The key authority in the fulfilment of some of these commitments is therefore not always aware that it is obliged to arrange for certain services in a regional or minority language. The Committee has therefore insisted on a more effective information flow down to the local level and on the need to involve local authorities better in the whole process. It has also pointed out, on the other hand, that considerations of local autonomy cannot legitimately be put forward as a reason for leaving it to the discretion of local authorities to determine how far the State's undertakings under the Charter will be fulfilled in practice.

Information policy

The Committee of Experts has furthermore underlined the importance of providing sufficient information to the public on the existence of services in regional or minority languages. Often, it has encountered situations where the users of the languages are not aware that pre-school, primary or secondary education should be available in a regional or minority language. The same applies to the possibility to use such a language in relations with an administrative authority or to obtain documents in a regional or minority language. The Committee has therefore emphasised that it is incumbent upon the State to make the users of the languages aware of the possibilities they have to use their language and to consult them where appropriate.

Co-operation with the States Parties

During its work, the Committee of Experts has in general benefited from a very positive atmosphere of co-operation, whether it be with the state authorities, the local and regional authorities or the non-governmental bodies and associations it has encountered during its work. In most cases, the States Parties have presented their initial periodical report on time, the questions of the Committee of Experts have been answered within a reasonable timeframe, and the on-the-spot visits have been appreciated. The on-the-spot visits have also in most cases enhanced the co-operation between the State and the users of the regional or minority language. This should be welcomed and can be considered as evidence of the political will of the States monitored so far to achieve a real improvement in the situation of their regional or minority languages.

The ongoing evaluation

At present, the Committee of Experts is finalising its first report on Germany and it is expected that this report will be presented to the Committee of Ministers during the autumn of this year. The Committee is also in the process of evaluating the application of the Charter in Sweden, Slovenia and the United Kingdom. The initial report of Denmark, due on 1 January 2002, has still not been submitted, and therefore there has been a delay in initiating the monitoring procedure. The initial periodical reports from Spain, Austria and Slovakia are expected during the next few months.

The Charter stipulates that States Parties are to present periodical reports every three years. The impact of the evaluation of the Committee of Experts is therefore constant. This second round of evaluation will indeed shed light on the progress made since the adoption of its first evaluation reports and especially what steps have been taken to implement the Recommendations of the Committee of Ministers.

In 2002, the Committee of Experts expects to receive the second periodical reports from the Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Croatia and Hungary. The Committee of Ministers has adopted a new outline to be followed by the States in drafting their second reports, and the Secretariat of the Charter organised a working meeting with representatives of these states in Strasbourg early in 2002, in order to facilitate the reporting for this second phase of the monitoring. So far, however, only Norway has presented its second report. I hope that the other States Parties will present their reports in the very near future.

This second phase of the monitoring will obviously have an effect on the overall workload of the Committee of Experts, since it will have to be carried out in parallel to the examination of the initial reports of the countries that have ratified more recently. Although the Committee has adapted its working methods in response to this problem, notably by greater recourse to working groups, there is a limit to what can be done by such means. The situation will need to be followed carefully to make sure that the Committee of Experts and its secretariat have the capacity to cope with the increasing workload.

Conclusions

In several States, amongst the States Parties in the first place but also amongst States which have not yet ratified or even signed the Charter, the very existence of the Charter and obviously, where applicable, its implementation have led to an increased awareness about regional and minority languages. In many cases, it has also encouraged dialogue between the authorities and the regional or minority speakers. This is a major step forward which in itself fully justifies a strong and constant support for the Charter system: indeed, the opening of a real dialogue and the recognition of and respect for the specificity of the regional and minority languages are a powerful factor for peaceful and harmonious coexistence within the State.

Furthermore, the developments of the monitoring mechanism have shown that the Charter has become a reference instrument in this field. That is also recognised by other international organisations, such as the OSCE.

The European Union too is focusing increasingly on the question of the protection of regional and minority languages, in particular on account of the imminent accession of a first wave of Central European countries. Article 22 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union provides that “The European Union shall respect cultural, religious and linguistic diversity”. The ways in which this norm can be further developed as to the protection of linguistic diversity are currently being examined by the Convention on the Future of the European Union. Therefore, in my view it is important that in the context of the work of the Convention, the Council of Europe's Charter for Regional or Minority Languages be given the maximum support with a view to strengthening its role as the reference legal standard for Europe as a whole.

APPENDIX I

CouncilEurope

European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
(Charte européenne des langues régionales ou minoritaires)
ETS n° : 148

Treaty open for signature by the member States and for accession by non-member States

Status as of 28/08/02

Opening for signature :
Place : Strasbourg
Date : 05/11/92

Entry into force :
Conditions : 5 Ratifications.
Date : 01/03/98

Member States of the Council of Europe:

States

Date of
signature

Date of
ratification

Date of entry
into force

Notes

R.

D.

A.

T.

C.

O.

Albania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andorra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armenia

11/05/01

25/01/02

01/05/02

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

Austria

05/11/92

28/06/01

01/10/01

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

Azerbaijan

21/12/01

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

Belgium

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bulgaria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Croatia

05/11/97

05/11/97

01/03/98

 

X

X

 

 

 

 

Cyprus

12/11/92

26/08/02

01/12/02

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

Czech Republic

09/11/00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Denmark

05/11/92

08/09/00

01/01/01

 

 

X

 

 

X

 

Estonia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finland

05/11/92

09/11/94

01/03/98

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

France

07/05/99

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

Georgia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Germany

05/11/92

16/09/98

01/01/99

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

Greece

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hungary

05/11/92

26/04/95

01/03/98

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

Iceland

07/05/99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ireland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Italy

27/06/00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Latvia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liechtenstein

05/11/92

18/11/97

01/03/98

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

Lithuania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luxembourg

05/11/92

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Malta

05/11/92

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moldova

11/07/02

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Netherlands

05/11/92

02/05/96

01/03/98

 

 

X

 

X

 

 

Norway

05/11/92

10/11/93

01/03/98

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

Poland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Portugal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Romania

17/07/95

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Russia

10/05/01

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Marino

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slovakia

20/02/01

05/09/01

01/01/02

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

Slovenia

03/07/97

04/10/00

01/01/01

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

Spain

05/11/92

09/04/01

01/08/01

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

Sweden

09/02/00

09/02/00

01/06/00

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

Switzerland

08/10/93

23/12/97

01/04/98

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

25/07/96

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turkey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ukraine

02/05/96

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

United Kingdom

02/03/00

27/03/01

01/07/01

 

 

X

 

X

 

 

Non-member States of the Council of Europe:

States

Date of
signature

Date of
 ratification 

Date of entry
into force

Notes

R.

D.

A.

T.

C.

O.

 

Total number of signatures not followed by ratifications :

12

Total number of ratifications/accessions :

17

Notes :
a: Accession - s: Signature without reservation as to ratification - su: Succession - r: Signature "ad referendum".
R.: Reservations - D.: Declarations - A.: Authorities - T.: Territorial Application - C.: Communication - O.: Objection.

Source: Treaty Office on http://conventions.coe.int

APPENDIX II

COUNCIL OF EUROPE

COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS

Recommendation RecChL(2001)1

on the application of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages by the Netherlands

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers

on 19 September 2001

at the 765th meeting of the Ministers’Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers,

In accordance with Article 16 of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages;

Bearing in mind the instrument of acceptance submitted by the Kingdom of the Netherlands on 2 May 1996;

Having taken note of the evaluation made by the Committee of Experts of the Charter with respect to the application of the Charter by the Kingdom of the Netherlands;

Having taken note of the comments submitted by the Dutch authorities on the content of the report of the Committee of Experts;

Bearing in mind that this evaluation is based on information submitted by the Netherlands in its initial periodical report, supplementary information given by the Dutch authorities, information submitted by bodies and associations legally established in this country and information obtained by the Committee of Experts during its on-the-spot visit,

Recommends that the Netherlands take account of all the observations of the Committee of Experts and, as a matter of priority:

1.       take the necessary steps to ensure that a substantial part of pre-school and primary education is available in Frisian. In order to achieve the objectives fixed by the authorities in respect of Frisian, the quality and the continuity of the teaching of Frisian throughout the education process, and in particular in secondary education, should be improved. Further efforts should be made to ensure and improve the necessary basic and further teacher training;

2.       ensure the practical implementation of the existing legal provisions as regards the use of Frisian in relation to the judicial and administrative authorities;

3.       take into account the special needs of broadcasting in Frisian and consider increasing its financial support;

4.       develop a general national language policy for those languages covered only by Part II of the Charter, based on the objectives and principles outlined therein.

COUNCIL OF EUROPE
COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS 

Recommendation RecChL(2001)2
on the application of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages by Croatia


(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers
on 19 September 2001
at the 765th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)


T
he Committee of Ministers,

In accordance with Article 16 of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages;

Bearing in mind the instrument of ratification submitted by the Republic of Croatia on 5 November 1997;

Having taken note of the evaluation made by the Committee of Experts of the Charter with respect to the application of the Charter by the Republic of Croatia;

Having taken note of the comments submitted by the Croatian authorities on the content of the report of the Committee of Experts;

Bearing in mind that this evaluation is based on information submitted by Croatia in its initial periodical report, supplementary information given by the Croatian Government, information submitted by bodies and associations legally established in Croatia, and information obtained by the Committee of Experts during its “on-the-spot visit”,

Recommends that the Republic of Croatia take account of all the observations of the Committee of Experts and, as a matter of priority:

1.       adopt and effectively apply the legal acts and regulations necessary to implement the existing constitutional provisions and basic statutory acts aimed at protecting and ensuring the use of regional or minority languages;

2.       establish by legal means an adequate institutional infrastructure for the teaching in and of the regional or minority languages in accordance with the obligations of Croatia under Article 8 of the Charter, and in particular provide sufficient teaching materials and teacher training in regional or minority languages;

3.       create institutional mechanisms that encourage direct participation of the users of regional or minority languages in planning, funding and organising cultural activities and in the field of the mass media;

4.       create the necessary legal basis for the official use of regional or minority languages by state and regional administration as well as in the courts of law and in particular avoid abdicating to local authorities the choice as to where Articles 9 and 10 of the Charter will be applied;

5.       re-examine the administrative divisions created since 1992 in order to overcome the obstacles to the promotion of the regional or minority languages created by these newly established administrative divisions;

6.       strengthen its mechanisms for monitoring the implementation of its undertakings, thus providing more comprehensive information;

7.       make its periodical reports on the application of the Charter public, thus ensuring that the organisations and persons concerned are informed of the rights and duties established under the Charter and its implementation;

8.       provide adequate financing for the measures intended to comply with the commitments undertaken under the Charter.

 COUNCIL OF EUROPE
COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS

Recommendation RecChL(2001)3
on the application of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages by Finland


(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers
on 19 September 2001
at the 765th meeting of the Ministers’Deputies)



The Committee of Ministers,

In accordance with Article 16 of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages;

Bearing in mind the instrument of acceptance submitted by Republic of Finland on 9 November 1994;

Having taken note of the evaluation made by the Committee of Experts of the Charter with respect to the application of the Charter by the Republic of Finland;

Having taken note of the comments submitted by the Finnish authorities on the content of the report of the Committee of Experts;

Bearing in mind that this evaluation is based on information submitted by Finland in its initial periodical report, supplementary information given by the Finnish authorities, information submitted by bodies and associations legally established in Finland and on the information obtained by the Committee of Experts during its “on-the-spot” visit;

Recommends that the Republic of Finland take account of all the observations of the Committee of Experts and, as a matter of priority:

1.       take immediate measures to strengthen the position of the Sami language in the field of education. Special efforts should be devoted to pre-school and primary education and to making available the necessary teacher training and teaching materials for Skolt and Inari Sami which seem to be in danger of extinction;

2.       increase the presence of Sami within the media, in particular by encouraging, through concrete measures, the creation of newspapers and the broadcasting of regular television programmes;

3.       a.       provide favourable conditions to encourage the use of Swedish, the less widely used official language, before the judicial and administrative authorities, in particular by taking measures aimed at improving the Swedish language skills of legal officials and administrative personnel;      

b.       provide favourable conditions to encourage the use of Sami before judicial and administrative authorities in the Sami Homeland, in particular by taking measures aimed at improving the Sami language skills of legal officials and administrative personnel;

4.       ensure the provision of services in Swedish and Sami in the health care and social welfare sectors to those who so wish;

5.       make its periodical reports on the application of the Charter public, thus ensuring that organisations and persons concerned are informed of the rights and duties established under the Charter and its implementation.

COUNCIL OF EUROPE
COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS

Recommendation RecChL(2001)4

on the application of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages by Hungary

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers

on 4 October 2001

at the 766th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers,

In accordance with Article 16 of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages;

Bearing in mind the instrument of ratification submitted by the Republic of Hungary on 26 April 1995;

Having taken note of the evaluation made by the Committee of Experts of the Charter with respect to the application of the Charter by the Republic of Hungary;

Bearing in mind that this evaluation is based on information submitted by Hungary in its initial periodical report, supplementary information provided by the Hungarian Government, information submitted by bodies and associations legally established in Hungary, and information obtained by the Committee of Experts during its “on the spot visit”,

Recommends that the Republic of Hungary:

1.       establish a policy for developing the Romani and Beas languages, with the aim of facilitating their use in public life, and respond to the needs of the users of these languages, in particular in education;

2.       strengthen the institutional infrastructure for teaching in and of the minority languages, and develop further the possibilities of bilingual education and provide sufficient teacher training;

3.       strengthen the possibilities of speakers of minority languages to use their language before the courts and in relations with the administration, by taking organisational and other appropriate measures to ensure that the existing legal mechanisms can be utilised in practice;

4.       continue to develop the potential of its newly established system of minority self-governments in view of the valuable contribution it can make to the promotion of the minority languages.

COUNCIL OF EUROPE
COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS

Recommendation RecChL(2001)5

of the Committee of Ministers on the application of the

European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages by Norway

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers

on 21 November 2001

at the 773rd meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers,

In accordance with Article 16 of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages;

Having regard to the instrument of ratification submitted by Norway on 10 November 1993;

Having taken note of the evaluation made by the Committee of Experts on the Charter with respect to the application of the Charter by Norway;

Having taken note of the comments made by the Norwegian authorities on the contents of the Committee of Experts' report;

Bearing in mind that this evaluation is based on information submitted by Norway in its initial periodical report, supplementary information given by the Norwegian authorities, information submitted by bodies and associations legally established in Norway and on the information obtained by the Committee of Experts during its “on-the-spot” visit,

Recommends that the Norwegian authorities take account of all the observations of the Committee of Experts and, as a matter of priority:

COUNCIL OF EUROPE
COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS

Recommendation RecChL(2001)6

of the Committee of Ministers on the application of the

European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages by Switzerland

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers

on 21 November 2001

at the 773rd meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers,

In accordance with Article 16 of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages;

Bearing in mind the instrument of ratification submitted by the Swiss Confederation on 23 December 1997;

Having taken note of the evaluation made by the Committee of Experts of the Charter with respect to the application of the Charter by Switzerland;

Having taken note of the comments made by the Swiss authorities on the contents of the Committee of Experts' report;

Bearing in mind that this evaluation is based on information submitted by Switzerland in its initial periodical report, supplementary information given by the Swiss authorities, information submitted by bodies and associations legally established in Switzerland and the information obtained by the Committee of Experts during its “on-the-spot” visit,

Recommends that Switzerland, whether at federal, cantonal or municipal level as the case may be, take account of all the observations of the Committee of Experts and, as a matter of priority:


1 Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

2 Armenia, Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

3 http://www.coe.int/T/E/Legal_Affairs/Local_and_regional_Democracy/