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The inhabitants of the Pomorskie region speak Kashubian which is the only regional language officially recognized in Poland. It plays an important role in the local community. Beside it, there are 60 or so indigenous languages existing within the European Union which are a key element of our European heritage and culture. The event was focused on the value and necessity to protect linguistic diversity in Europe.
The seminar took place on 5th June 2013 in the premises of the European Parliament and was co-organized by Pomorskie Region and Pomeranian-Kashubian Association with support of the European Commission, European Language Equality Network (ELEN) and Members of the European Parliament – Mr Jan Kozłowski and Mrs Jill Evans.
Welcome speech was given by Mr Kozlowski, MEP from Pomorskie Region, who strongly supports the Kashubian minority in theirs actions to preserve the unique culture of the Kashubian region. Next Mrs Jill Evans Welsch MEP took the floor. On behalf of MEP Alfonsi, rapporteur on of endangered European languages and linguistic diversity in the European Union, she outlined the works of the European Parliament on this matter. MEP Evans also gave interesting examples of undertakings to protect Welsh language in her home region.
Mr Tomasz Wicherkiewicz gave a brief presentation on European heritage and language diversity in Europe, at the same time trying to answer the question if regional languages represents wealth and valuable heritage or only are an additional trouble for policymakers. His speech was then confronted with Mr Johan Häggman from the European Commission. Mr Haggman presented the legal means given by the European Commission for protection of multilingualism in Europe and examples of tools to support it.
Łukasz Grzędzicki, Chairman of Pomeranian-Kashubian Association, gave a charismatic presentation on the Kashubian minority in Poland and shared with participants some examples of achieved successes in fostering the Kashubian culture, so far e.g. the total number of people in Poland who declare to be Kashubian is increasing each year due to awareness raising campaigns run by the association.
Director of the Regional Agency for the Friulian Language Mr William Cisilino introduced his experience on juridical ways of defending the Friulian minority language in Italian region of Friuli Venzia Giulia.
The last but not least, there was the presentation given by Dr Davyth HICKS from Eurolang and the European Language Equality Network (ELEN). Mr Hicks gave few excellent examples what can be done to promote the linguistic diversity in Europe by non-governmental organization like ELEN.
The presentations were followed by discussion with audience. Questions about Silesian languages and possibilities for further cooperation were raised.
The event was attended by representatives from European regions, MEPs and other stakeholders.
Presentations attached on the right-hand side.