The Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN) celebrated its 70th anniversary at its annual congress which was this year held in Bratislava, Slovakia.
ECMI Senior Analyst Dr. Zora Popova gave a presentation and participated in a panel discussion on the minority situation in Ukraine, plus ECMI Research Assistant Craig Willis attended the full programme as an observer.
Hosted by the Hungarian and Carpathian-German communities of Slovakia, the opening ceremony took place at the Palace Art Hotel in the town of Pezinok and featured a variety of opening speeches of FUEN and member organisation officials, as well as a keynote speech from Prof. Dr. Gabriel N/ Toggenburg of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency. There was also the first award of the newly created FUEN Prize, awarded to Hartmut Koschyk, former German Commissioner for Matters Related to Ethnic German Resettlers and National Minorities, for his special contribution to the protection of national minorities.
The programme of events of the second full day, Friday 14th June, took place at the Municipal Culture Centre in Dunajská Streda – an hour south of Bratislava. Here the panel discussions discussed the minority communities of Slovakia, with most of the focus on the hosting Hungarian national minority. In the afternoon session, a panel discussion on the minority situation in Ukraine saw Dr. Zora Popova present on the situation of minorities in three regions of Ukraine; Zakarpattia, Chernivtsi and Odessa, both in terms of challenges but also progress that has been made. This talk complimented the panel which was otherwise made up of minority representatives from different regions of Ukraine outlining the challenges that remain across the country. The panel was moderated by FUEN Vice-President Gösta Toft of the German minority in Denmark.
The final day, Saturday 15th June, largely consisted of the General Assembly of FUEN delegates which involved the internal elections of the President and Vice-Presidents/Presidium which occur every three years. This was followed by a river boat cruise and dinner on the Danube, providing a further chance for networking and reaffirming contacts in the field for the ECMI.
Further details of the event, including the full programme, can be found at https://congress2019.fuen.org/#welcome. The organisers announced their intention to hold the 2020 congress in Kiev, Ukraine if possible, whilst the 2021 congress was confirmed to be held in Tallinn, Estonia.