To gauge the application of the Charter
in the four states that have ratified it, there are periodic reports issued by the states
that may be consulted, as well as reports by the Committee of experts and the
recommendation of the Committee of Ministers.
periodic reports issued by the states can be consulted at the following address. The first such periodic reports
were published at this site on the 1st May 2004, from Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary, as
well as the second by Hungary.
reports issued by the various Committees of experts may similarly be consulted at. Here, on the 1st May there appeared
the report from the Committee of Experts on the first periodic report from Hungary.
the Ministerial recommendations may be consulted at the following address. Here on the 1st May there
appeared the recommendations from the Committee of ministers on arising out of the first
Hungarian periodic report.
languages do the four states that have ratified the Charter commit themselves to
protecting? Table 9 summarises the situation as reflected in the respective documents of
ratification, which are available for general consultation at the following address.
Table 9. Languages with protection by the states that have ratified
Slovak, Slovenian, Romanian and Serbian
Croatian, Hungarian, Polish, Romany, Ruthenian, Czech and Ukrainian
interesting question is the relationship between regional and minority languges recognised
in the ratification of the Charter, and the languages protected by internal jurisdiction.
In the case of Hungary, for instance, article 42 of Law LXXVII
of 1993 on the rights of ethnic and national minorities recognises more languages than the six mentioned in the
Hungarian document officially ratifying the European Charter. Naturally, beyond the
question of the number of languages is the really interesting question of whether the
protection afforded by internal legislation is greater or lesser than would follow from
endorsement or ratification of the Charter. Unfortunately, there is no space to enter into
such questions in an article like this which sets out to give a panoramic overview.
the ten new member states of the European Union present moderate linguistic complexity.
Seven of the ten states are homogeneous in both Fishman's and Lijphart's terms and only
two are clearly heterogeneous. The two heterogeneous states are Estonia and Latvia, where
the internal linguistic complexity is in large part the result of population movements
which occurred under Soviet domination during the 20th century. In the event that Cyprus
reunifies, that island will be the third heterogeneous state, with the proviso that
internally it will still consist of two clearly homogeneous territories and most probably
the resulting state will be organised politically as a confederation of these two
territories. In terms of language policy, all states except Malta and Cyprus have one
official state language. Malta's case is exceptional, as we have said, because the second
official language (English) is not the mother tongue of any significant group of speakers
on the island. And in the case of Cyprus, even though the Republic has two official
languages, in the current political situation on the island, as we have said, the Republic
functions as an officially monolingual state. In
general, there is no situation in any of the ten states that is even broadly comparable to
the one in which the Catalan language finds itself. In any case, the most interesting
developments from the Catalan point of view could be the way in which Latvia and Estonia
treat their substantial Russian-speaking minorities, the result in the main of immigration
during the Soviet era, and the uptake, in Cyprus, of linguistic (con) federalism in the
event that the island is reunified.
Badia, I. Diccionari de les llengües
d'Europa. Barcelona: Enciclopèdia Catalana, 2002.
Fishman, J. A. "Some Contrasts between Linguistically Homogeneous and
Heterogeneous Polities". In: Fishman, Joshua A. et al. (eds.).
Language Problems of Developing Nations. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1968.
Lijphart, A. Democracies. Yale
University Press, 1984. Spanish version: Las democracias contemporáneas. Barcelona: Ariel,
M. L'Europa de les llengües. Barcelona:
Edicions 62, 1995.
J. (ed.). Dret
lingüístic. Valls: Cossetània, 2003.
Statistical Office of the
Statisticni urad Republike Slovenije
Statistical Office of the
Republic of Slovenia
Statistical Office of Estonia
Statistical Bureau of Latvia
departamentas prie Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybes
Statistics to the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (Statistics Lithuania)
National Statistics Office
Polska Statystyka Publiczna
Polish Official Statistics
Czech Statistical Office
Statistical Service of the Republic of Cyprus
Universitat Autònoma de
de Filologia Catalana