KRYNICA, Poland, September 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Today's panel taking place at the 23rd Economic Forum in Krynica, Poland entitled "A Potential for Conflict? Ethnic Minorities in Central and Eastern Europe'’ outlined the ongoing problems faced in many European countries, where separatism is clearly visible. The panelists debated questions such as: how can governments ensure the equal rights for various sorts of ethnic groups allowing neither discrimination of minority by majority nor terrorizing majority by minority?
Speaking on the present issue of Crimean Tatars living in Ukraine, Refat Chubarov, President of the World Congress of this minority group, claimed that "the government has adopted not one act to mitigate the situation and there is a clear absence of legislation."
Outlining a similar situation in Moldova, Governor of Gagauzia, Mihail Formuzal, maintained that the subject of ethnic minorities is a problem current in every country. The government of Moldova's policy was aimed against making the Gagauzians citizens of the country. Formuzal said "Gagauzians don't even have their own language, there needs to be a common ground found."
Representing the European Union's view was Iuliu Winkler, deputy to the European Parliament, who attempted to answer the question of whether membership to the EU of these countries will solve the issue of ethnic minorities, claiming that "ethnic minorities are assets to the EU and over 1 million citizens coming from EU countries can ask the Commission a request for such legislation."
However, Elizaveta Krivcova, Head of the Board for Latvian Non-citizens Congress argued that in a country where 13% of the population do not have a citizenship or any basic democratic rights for that matter, the EU has had few effective measures and the situation has only slightly improved since Latvia's joining of the EU. But, "at present, what the government is offering does not resolve the issue, the situation of ethnic minorities has not been resolved."
She also added that "people have no rights whatsoever and though it seemed naturalization would occur fast- this has not happened. This is typical in many Central and Eastern European countries where ethnic democracy is prevailing and where these minorities are still often seen as hostile enemies within their own country."
Dmitrijs Rodionovs, Vice- Mayor of Daugavpils in Latvia, maintained that "Russian is not treated as a regional language in Latvia- that is a reprimand to our rights."
Magdalena Vasaryova, Member of Slovakia's Parliament made the point that "EU membership does not mean living in an Eden", especially referencing to the Roma minority in Slovakia - a minority where 70% of the people are unemployed. Vasaryova also focused on a large anti-Semitic sentiment which is prevalent in countries like Slovakia and Ukraine.
The key underlying argument in the discussion was that the EU needs to help to solve these problems as there is a clear lack of systems to help integrate minorities into society.
Antin Borkovsky, Editor of TV audition, Western Information Agency in Ukraine, blamed an absence of education that has added to the increased issue of xenophobia saying "this conflict could escalate if not mitigated soon."
Moderating the panel and summarizing the discussion, Oleg Bondarenko, Managing Partner at the Agency for Strategic Communications in Russia, further raised the question of anti-Semitism. Winkler agreed saying "this issue is at large, but responsibility should be taken."
Other speakers included Evgeniy Tsarkov, Advisor of the First Deputy Head, Verhovna Rada Ukraine amongst others.
SOURCE Strategy Communications