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Cultural Policy

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Community actions in the field of regional or minority languages and culture

Promotion and protection of regional or minority
languages and cultures of the European Union


Official title

"Measures to promote and safeguard regional or minority languages and cultures"


Legal references

  • Resolutions of the European Parliament, 1981, 1983 (Arfé), 1987 (Kuijpers) and 1994 (Killilea).

  • Budget heading B3-1006



Following the adoption by the European Parliament of the Arfé Resolution in 1981, the Commission embarked on the protection and promotion of "minority" languages by opening a specific budget heading in 1983 (budget heading B3 1006 of the Budget).

The actions concerned aim to:

  • encourage initiatives in the field of education, culture and information;

  • protect and promote regional or minority languages and cultures;

  • strengthen the European dimension and encourage cooperation between all those working to preserve and promote the languages and cultures concerned;

  • improve the exchange of information and the transfer of experience;

  • systematize, improve or promote the teaching of regional or minority languages in all educational sectors, from pre-school to adult education.



Any person, institution, body, non-profit making association of a Member State or countries of the European Economic Area (EEA) involved in the field of regional or minority languages and cultures. Private companies are not admitted.


Eligible actions

  • (a) development of language skills

    • teaching of the language at all levels;
    • distance teaching of the language;
    • training of teachers and adults;
    • promotion of bilingualism/trilingualism;
    • awareness-raising compaigns;
    • production of teaching and multimedia materials;
    • publications for children.

  • (b) information

    • transregional information and documentation networks;
    • conferences, colloquia and seminars;
    • exchanges of experience;
    • publication of magazines and newspapers;
    • production of films and videos;
    • radio and television broadcasts;
    • cultural events.

  • (c)language description and standardisation

    • lexicography and terminolgy work;
    • creation of databases;
    • assistance in setting up oral and written archives for languages with an oral tradition;
    • surveys and evaluations of the utilization and vitality of the language.

  • (d) economic and social promotion of the language

    • presence of the language in the visual environment (road signs, billboards etc), in the tourist infrastructure or on products for local consumption or exportation;
    • development of the potential for using the language in new technologies.


Selection criteria

  • a)the European dimension of the project: at least two language communities or Member States must participate in the project or it must lead to a transfer of experience and knowledge from one region to the other;

  • b)the multiplier effect: the project must have links with other projects or initiatives in progress, or the beneficiaries envisaged work on language planning, or they belong to research centres or voluntary institutions or organizations working for the promotion of regional or minority languages. The project must have sustainable effects and be of a large scope and use the most up-to-date means for the design of educational supports and the widespread dissemination of information (new information, communication and educational technologies).

  • c)the urgent nature: the project must concern a sensitive region or local community;

  • d)the innovative nature of the project;

  • e)the cost/efficiency ratio.



The proposal must be accompanied by an official and explicit letter requesting subsidization.

The request must provide complete and verifiable information regarding the selection criteria.

In addition, the request must, depending on the case, satisfy the following requirements:

  • if it is an educational or training project, specify the number of teachers and studies, the type of course, the educational method, the number of hours and the evaluation procedure;

  • if it is a conference, a seminar or a symposium: complete the special form attached to the request for subsidization.

  • if it is a film or a publication, present a detailed description of the subject and give detailed information about the author or authors, the number of copies, the target public, the dissemination and if appropriate the selling price, etc.;

  • if it involves the production of educational material indicate the nature of the material to be developed, the different phases of production, the evaluation mechanism and the planned distribution.



For the 1998 financial year, projects must reach the Commission:

  • before 1.11.1997 for projects beginning from 1.04.1998;

  • before 1.04.1998 for projects beginning from 15.09.1998.


EU Financial Support

To date, the EU has awarded approximately ECU 25 million towards projects designed to promote and safeguard minority languages and cultures. In 1996, it funded 170 projects, for a total of ECU 4 million. The EU budget for 1997 (budget line B3-1006) is ECU 3 675 000.

The subsidy may only be granted to a legal person. Community aid is partial and complementary to national, regional or local aid. The financing is annual. Projects of a multiannual nature must each year apply for aid for the working programme and budget of the year in question. The financial support for selected projects may not exceed 50% of the real costs incurred for their completion.


Examples of actions encouraged

The LEADER II local action group South Pembrokeshire Partnership (Wales) received a subsidy to publish a brochure in English and Welsh on the region's natural and cultural heritage. This brochure strengthens the groups efforts in rural tourism, a sector where their action programme is concentrated.


Communication support

  • Call for the submission of proposals for actions in the field of regional or minority languages and cultures (OJ C 79 of 31/3/1995), published in all the Community languages.

  • Call for proposals of support from the European Commission for actions promoting and protecting regional or minority languages and cultures (OJ C 322 of 2/12/1995), published in all the Community languages.

  • Call for proposals of support from the European Commission for measures to promote and safeguard regional or minority languages and cultures. (OJ C178 of 12/6/1997), published in all the Community languages.

  • Subsidy application form (published in EN, DE, FR, IT, ESP) is available from DG XXII ( at the address below) or by E-mail

  • How to promote regional or minority languages with the help of the European Union. A friendly guide to budget line B3-1006. Available from the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages in EN, FR, DE, IT, ES, 1997.

  • Euromosaic, Production and reproduction of minority linguistic groups in the European Union (EN, FR).

  • The European Union's languages of limited diffusion, progress report 1989-1993, COM (94) 602 final, 15.12.1994, published in all the Community languages.

  • Activities of the European Communities in favour of languages and cultures of limited diffusion 1983-1989 by Lucien Jacoby (EN, FR, IT, DE). Lesser Used Languages of the European Union. Report of activities 1989-1993 by Frank Fay (11 languages). Reports prepared at the request of the European Commission for the account of the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages.


    Additional sources of information


    date of publication: 01/98

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