Brussel / Bruxelles 4/23/2004 , by Davyth A. Hicks
In a significant move Gwynedd Council in northwest Wales informs Eurolang that it has officially called on Breton governmental bodies to take action for the Breton language.
In the letter, addressed to the Presidents of the five Breton departments and the new chief of the Breton Œregion‚, Jean Yves le Drian, the leader of Gwynedd Council, R. Wyn Williams, expresses „sadness and concern regarding the lack of political support and the current financial and legal situation of the bilingual Diwan schools in Brittany‰.
„These schools are an imperative resource for the future of the Breton language, and one could argue that without these schools, the future of the Breton language looks more doubtful than ever.
„Many towns in Gwynedd are twinned with similar towns in Brittany, and to hear of the situation of the language has generated great concern in Gwynedd, a County where Welsh, the sister language of Breton, receives so much support and assistance.
„I urge you to do all that you can to give Breton the opportunity to survive, through discussing this problem with your government and elected representatives in your region and France.‰
It also invites the Breton leaders to come to Gwynedd „to experience the Welsh education Plan and to see the clear advantage of educating our young people bilingually‰.
Speaking on behalf of Diwan, Anna Vari Chapalain welcomed the move telling Eurolang that: „It will be discussed at this weekend‚s Diwan General Assembly. We‚ll also be taking it to the departmental chiefs and raising the issue with the new Vice President of the region, Yann Ber Thomin, who is responsible for Breton language development.‰
The support from Gwynedd is also timely coming a few weeks before a meeting and demonstration planned for the 15th May when UNESCO meets in Nantes in southern Brittany for a World Forum on Human Rights. At the meeting Breton campaigners from the multi group collective „Unity in Diversity‰ are calling for France to ratify the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and the Framework Convention for National Minorities, and for administrative reunification of the country.
Eurolang was unable to contact the Breton MEP Bernard Poignant.
Importantly the move signals the possibilities of two European Œregions‚, or in this case stateless nations, working together to support a minoritised language. (Eurolang)
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