Council of Europe expert committee calls for action plans to protect minority languages in Czechia

  • 23.05.2024
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Strasbourg, 22.05.2024 – The Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages of the Council of Europe has called on Czechia to design and implement a specific strategy and action plan for protecting and promoting each of the languages covered by the treaty in the country: German, Moravian Croatian, Polish, Romani and Slovak.

In a report released today, the Committee of Experts welcomes the Czech authorities’ decision to extend its undertakings under the Charter regarding German in the districts of Cheb, Karlovy Vary, Sokolov, Liberec, Ústí nad Labem, Český Krumlov, Opava and Svitavy, which will significantly increase the offer of education and media in German and promote its use in citizens’ communication with public administrations. The committee considers that this decision can form the basis for a structured policy for protecting and promoting German in public life.

So far, pre-school, primary and secondary education in regional and minority languages has only been available in Polish. German is taught as a foreign language, and Moravian Croatian, Romani and Slovak are not taught in mainstream education.

Regarding judicial authorities, the Committee of Experts considers that the legislation should be amended to enable the use of regional and minority languages before and by courts.

In several municipalities, bilingual topographic signage in Czech and Polish has been installed, but the Committee of Experts considers that the 10% population threshold to adopt this measure hinders the introduction of such place names in additional municipalities and creates uncertainty as to whether the signage will be maintained in the local share of the Polish minority falls below 10%.

The report recommends extending the duration of the public television programme in Polish and regrets that there are currently no television programmes in German, Slovak, Romani or Moravian Croatian. Moreover, public radio broadcasting in German and Slovak is considered too limited to contribute to the promotion of these languages and, in the case of Moravian Croatian, is non-existent.

The fifth evaluation report of the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages is based on the information provided by governmental and non-governmental sources, including that obtained during its visit to Czechia in September 2023.

The evaluation report has been published together with the Czech authorities’ comments. A summary of the report is available in Czech.

The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and Czechia


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