World Federation of Hungarians
to the Draft
Constitution for Europe
Individual and Collective Rights
of National Minorities
14 July 2003. Budapest
Presidium of the World Federation of Hungarians - Resolution 173/2003
Draft - translated from Hungarian Translation in conformance with the original
Additions to the Draft Constitution for Europe
By right of internal self-government that guarantees the preservation of the national identity of communities through self-government within the state, as well as the individual and collective exercise of the specific rights of the persons who belong to the community; and
- designated in accordance with the regulations listed in the documents of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, drafted as political obligations by the Vienna Declaration that was signed by the heads of state and premiers of Europe in 1993; and
- to assert the rights provided to the minority nationalities and the persons belonging to them in the Recommendations No. 1134/1990, 1177/1992, 1201/1993, 1255/1995 of the Council of Europe; and
- applying Resolution No. 1334/2003 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; and
- in the spirit of the instructions specified in the European Charter for Local Autonomy, and according to the European Charter for Regional Autonomy ratified by the Council of Europe in 1997; and
- for the achievement of full and effective civic equality guaranteed by the Framework Agreement on the Protection of the National Minorities; and
- in order to respect the principles included in the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages; and
- considering the Resolution of the Parliament of the European Union, dated November21, 1991, regarding the citizens of the Union, which promulgates the principle of democratic internal self-determination, full and real equality among the citizens, local, regional or community self-government and the cooperation among the regions,
- those communities whose national identity differs from that of the majority nation, which live in the territory of a member state and which are historically attached to their traditional living areas, with a view to guarantee their full and real equality, are entitled to communal self-government, local special status and territorial autonomy on the basis of nationality deriving from the right to internal self-determination.
Part II: THE CHARTA OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE UNION
Chapter V1: Right of National Communities, Ethnic Groups and Historical European Regions to Self-government
The Constitution recognizes and guarantees the right to self-government of all peoples, national communities and historical regions existing in the territory of the member states, and the solidarity existing among them.
National communities, as autonomous political subjects, are identical with the minority collectivities, which have historical, territorial, settling, cultural, linguistic, religious traditions on their native soil, which are bound together by the sentiment of solidarity directed to the conservation of their national identity, and members of which have expressed this affiliation with their individual decisions, style of living and network of relations.
The collectively and individually exercised rights of national communities and their members constitute the part of the universal human rights, and as such, on the one hand they belong to the jurisdiction of the national communities, on the other hand they fall under the sovereignty of the states, and jointly they belong to the authority of international cooperation.
In order to preserve and exercise their national identity, national communities and their members possess distinct rights in accordance with the international directives and the Helsinki Closing Declaration. These rights will be exercised in accordance with the human rights and fundamental liberties.
Members of the national communities can democratically elect their institutions for the representation and conduct of their affairs.
Exercise of the freedom of identity of the individuals belonging to the national communities, according to the historical and territorial conditions, is realized through communal autonomy endowed with full powers, special local status as well as territorial autonomy on the basis of nationality.
Chapter V2: Communal Self-government
Communal autonomy includes the national community and the collective and individual rights to which those who belong to it are entitled.
Members of the national communities have the right to their motherland, to freedom and tranquility of life on the land of birth, to the retention of their historically developed settlement and ethnic conditions, to full and real civic equality.
National communities and their members are entitled to self-administrative, and within this, specific regulating and executive rights in the field of the use of the native language, native language culture, education, official-, public-, and social activities and in the area of information distribution.
Self- administration of the national communities is achieved through bodies and officials of self-government, based on free, periodic, general, direct and secret elections.
The state-wide self-governing decision making bodies of national communities have decision and sanctioning rights in the area of national identity- specifically: native language, culture, national history, religion, traditions, and national symbols, as well in regulations related to the forced alteration of the borders and the national composition of the administrative territories.
Communal autonomy guarantees for the national community and its members, in particular:
a) Full and real civic equality.
b) Self- administration within the state, suited to the historical and territorial
c) Equality of opportunity.
d) Free profession, exercise and expression of the national identity of the individual.
e) Free use of the native language in social life, public administration, administration of justice, education and cultural pursuits.
f) In the administrative units and regions traditionally inhabited by the members of the national community, the appointment and employment of persons belonging to the community, or persons familiar with the native language of these communities, in the areas listed in point e).
g) Establishment and operation of an independent public and denominational educational system of institution in the native language with the normative assistance of the state.
h) The right to freedom of information in the native language and the right to operate the native language written and electronic press.
i) Free use of the national symbols, the undisturbed observation of national and religious holidays, preservation, cultivation and transmittal to future generations of the architectural, cultural and religious relics and traditions.
j) Free maintenance of relations with the mother country and other communities to which the national community is attached with national, linguistic and historical bonds.
k) The proportionate distribution and spending of the funds, set aside from the state budget for the establishment and operation of educational, instructional, cultural and scientific institutions in the native language.
l) Restoration of the nationalized or the by whatever means confiscated ecclesiastical, communal, personal movable property and real assets, or reasonable compensation for them.
m) The use of the name in conformity with the native language and national traditions of the individual.
Chapter V3: Self-government with Specific Status
The specific status provides the community with additional spheres of authority as a supplement to the legal provisions relating to local autonomy, which guarantees the protection of the national identity of the majority community within the territory of the local administrative unit.
In the local administrative territory of the local community with specific status, the language of the national community enjoys equal status with the official state language.
Jurisdiction of the local community with specific status includes, among other things:
a) Change of its administrative borders only by means of a local plebiscite.
b) Prohibition of forcible changes in the nationality ratio within its territory of administration.
c) Safeguarding of independent education in the native language on all levels, in all forms, types and branches of study.
d) Protection of national identity that shall reflect tolerance and the mutual respect for the rights of the local communities and their members.
e) In addition to performing the local administrative spheres of authority, safeguarding the conditions that make possible the unobstructed exercise of the individual and collective rights guaranteeing the protection and preservation of national identity.
The local community with specific status, based on the right to local autonomy, in the areas defined in this Constitution possesses the local and executive powers delegated to it by the state.
The extra authority of local communities with specific status extends, among others, to:
1. creation, operation and development of educational institutions,
2. creation, operation and development of cultural and intellectual institutions in their mother language,
3. mass information in their mother language,
4. unrestricted use of mother language in private, religious and public life and institutions, and in the judicial system,
5. providing public order and safety by a police force that is under the authority of the autonomous self-government,
6. creation and maintenance of national monuments and memorials,
7. creation and operation of libraries, archives, museums and similar institutions that hold the linguistic values of the community and the nationality groups,
8. and other functions, as provided for by law.
The state supervision of local communities with specific status extends only to the legality of its activity.
Chapter V4: Territorial Self-government of Autonomous Communities
1) Regions representing historical, cultural, and economic units, in accord with the right to autonomy as provided for in Paragraph 6 above, may achieve self-government and may create regional autonomous community in harmony with the provisions of this paragraph and the relevant statutes.
2) The procedure to achieve autonomy may be initiated by the appropriate regional council and two thirds of the villages, provided that their residents comprise more than half of the voting population. These conditions must be guaranteed within six months, beginning from the time the first involved institution accepted the proposal.
3) According to the provisions of Paragraph 11 the forced alteration of the boundaries, residential structure and nationality composition of the autonomous public administration is prohibited.
The Parliaments of the EU Member States:
a) may recognize the creation of autonomous community that extends only to one province;
b) may recognize, or if necessary, they may grant autonomy statutes for territories that do not constitute part of a provincial organization;
c) may assume the right of the bodies mentioned in Paragraph 19, (2) to initiate autonomy;
The text of the statute will be worked out and proposed to the appropriate Parliament for legalization, by the public representatives of the affected communities.
1) Among the conditions defined in this Constitution the statutes will be the fundamental institutional norms of the autonomous communities, which will be recognized and protected as organic part of the country’s legal order.
2) The autonomy-statute must define:
a) the name of the autonomous community that best mirrors its historic profile;
b) the borders of the area;
c) the name, organization and seat of the autonomous institution;
d) the functions provided for in the Constitution, and the basic principles of transferring the necessary offices;
3) Modification of the statutes shall happen according to the procedure contained therein.
1) The autonomous communities, in the interest of their internal development and carrying out their functions shall have financial autonomy, and in the exercise of this function, they shall observe the principles of harmony with the state finances and of the solidarity of every citizen.
2) The autonomous communities and their officers, as the designates and co-workers of the state, shall collect the state taxes and shall perform in this capacity, in harmony with the statutes.
1) The financial resources of the autonomous communities are the following:
a) taxes fully or partially transferred by the state; fees and surcharges after the state taxes and other allocations from the state revenue;
b) taxes of the autonomous community, special taxes and fees;
c) proportionate distribution from the territorial compensatory fund and other appropriations from the general state budget;
d) income from its own property and from private property;
e) funds from credit activities;
f) domestic and foreign gifts;
g) income from commercial and other activity that are reserved specifically to the autonomous territory and its residents by the state’s constitution of statutes.
2) Under no circumstances can he autonomous communities tax goods or services outside their territory, or to obstruct in any way the free flow of goods and services.
1) The state shall enjoy exclusive jurisdiction in these areas:
1. regulation of basic conditions that guarantee the equality of every citizen in the exercise and fulfillment of their constitutional rights;
2. citizenship, immigration and emigration, control of foreigners, and asylum;
3. international relations, excepting the right of the autonomous region to develop its own connections;
4. national defense and the armed forces, respecting the free use of the language of the autonomous communities in the armed forces, and the creation of units in the mother language;
5. judicial system, respecting the right of the autonomous community to regulate it in its own jurisdiction;
6. commercial, criminal, penal and procedural legislation, respecting the necessary specifics that flow from the autonomous community specific material rights;
7. labor legislation, respecting the authority of the organs of the autonomous community right to apply the laws;
8. civic legislation, respecting the right of the autonomous community to protect, modify and develop civic rights where there are any, and public rights. In every case, the rules regarding the application and the guaranteeing the effectiveness of judicial rules; juridical civil relationships regarding marriage; state registrations and providing official documents; principles of contractual arrangements; norms to dissolve collision of laws; definition of sources of rights, especially in relationship to special rights;
9. legislation concerning intellectual and industrial property, respecting the right of the autonomous community right as provided by statutes;
10. duties and tariffs; foreign commerce;
11. the monetary system, foreign loans, convertibility; regulation of general principles of credit, bank transactions and insurance, respecting the right of the autonomous community right as provided by statutes;
12. legislation regarding weights and measurements; defining the official time;
13. general planning and coordination of the basic economic activities, respecting right of the autonomous community as provided by statutes;
14. general financial matters and state indebtedness;
15. scientific and technological research and development and coordination, respecting special functions and interest of the autonomous community;
16. international health regulations; the foundations and general coordination of health services; legislation concerning health products;
17. legislation concerning social insurance and its economic basis, remembering that providing social services are the function of the autonomous community;
18. environmental protection, provided that they do not violate the supplementary right of the A R to issue environmental rules; regulation of manufacture, marketing, owning and using firearms and explosives;
19. basic rules concerning the media, radio and television, and in general, every form of social communication, respecting the executive and developmental right of the autonomous community;
20. protection of cultural, artistic and historic heritage, prevention of their removal from the country; state museums, libraries, archives, but their operation shall be reserved for the autonomous community;
21. public safety, providing the opportunity for the autonomous community to create its own police force, within the framework of the relevant organic statutes;
22. regulation of the necessary conditions for receiving, granting, and approving academic and university titles;
23. statistics, necessary for state purposes.
2) Without violating the rights belonging to the autonomous communities the state views as its obligation and essential task to serve culture and to promote cultural contacts among the autonomous communities;
In the areas where the state enjoys exclusive jurisdiction, may delegate to the autonomous community the power to make their own legislative procedural rules within the guidelines established by the state. Respecting the jurisdiction of the courts, in every such law the means of state supervision of the autonomous community must be clearly stated.
By organic law the state may transfer or delegate authority over rights relating to state ownership those that are, by their nature able to be transferred or delegated to the autonomous community. In every such case the law must allow the transfer of financial means and state the forms of the supervision reserved to the state.
The following may supervise the operation of the organs of the autonomous community:
a) the Constitutional Court, concerning the constitutionality of normative orders;
b) the Cabinet, concerning the exercise of delegated authority;
c) the Public-administrative courts concerning the activity and rules of the autonomous public-administrative organs;
d) the Audit Office concerning the fiscal management and budget as it involves the state budget ;
e) the European Union through its organs supervising Human Rights.
The constitutional self-identification as “nation-state” of countries that include historic and territorial communities of numeric minorities is irreconcilable with the principles of the democratic juridical states of the European Union.
Accordingly, only the deletion of such false “nation-state” self-identification from these states’ constitutions can guarantee for the national community living within the territory of given state and bound by historic traditions to their residences, the safeguarding their self-identity, preventing their forced assimilation, vouching for their true equality, and guaranteeing their self-government.
1) The European Parliament shall create a Council of the European Union to Supervise autonomous community (in the following “Council”) that will supervise and promote conditions for the creation and realization of he legal framework of community self-government according to the rights established in Paragraph I, Article II-47 for every people, national community and historic region to self-government.
2) The functions of the Council include:
a) register the native national communities in Europe that conform to the conditions stated in Paragraph 2, Article II-48);
b) initiate negotiation with the member states about the position of autonomous community rights concerning the provisions of this Constitution and the inclusion in their domestic laws and statutes appropriate guarantees of the forms of autonomy requested by the communities;
c) make proposals for the creation of Euro-regions based on nationality;
d) supervise the unhindered fulfillment of the collective rights of the autonomous community in the member states;
e) receive complaints from the autonomous national communities, investigate them, and propose remedies to resolve the complaints;
f) prepare yearly report concerning the situation of the autonomous community;
g) propose sanction for violation of the present Constitution; and
h) such other tasks as may be assigned to the Council by the European Parliament.