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Request for Recognition of the Macedonian Language in Greece

May 3 , 2000

The Greens/European Free Alliance
In the European Parliament
Rue Wiertz, 1047 Belgium,
Tel: 2-2943045; Fax: 2-2307837

To: The Prime Minister of the Republic of Greece Kostas Simitis

Dear Mr. Simitis,

In the name of the Green/European Alliance Group in the European Parliament, we would like to voice our concerns regarding linguistic, cultural, and national diversity problems in your country, mainly the Macedonian language question.

By signing the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Rights of Minorities (September 1998), Greece undoubtedly moved in the right direction. However, we believe that modernizing Greek society will require developing new approaches to issues of honouring and guaranteeing minority rights. This becomes a stronger imperative with the European unification process.

We believe the language issue should not be restricted to only be a fruitful dialogue, but that also specific measures must be taken in accordance to a policy of protecting and fostering the Macedonian language. Just as the Greek language should have a special place in the 'large' multicultural and multi-language mosaic of European languages, so too must the Macedonian language be respected in a multi-ethnic and multi-language Greek reality.

In this respect, we would like you to consider the necessity of officially recognising Macedonian -language, guarantying its inclusion in the education system of the areas concerned and establishing mechanisms allowing its' presence in the mass media.

We are very willing to co-operate with you and to share information about the situation in other European Member States which we represent.

We look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Yours sincerely,

Haidi Hautala, Co-President
Paul Lannoye, Co-President
Nelly Maes, Vice-President

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