France is to include a reference to minority languages in its Constitution: “regional languages are part of [French] heritage”. The addition of this phrase to Article 1 of the Constitution marks a historic step for a state that has been so reluctant to recognize linguistic diversity in the past, although it is still unclear what the effects of the modification will be.
The amendment was voted in during a parliamentary session in which changes to the Constitution were debated. Minority languages, an issue previously debated on 7 May without much success, were discussed on Thursday afternoon. The amendment to Article 1 was proposed by Jean-Luc Warsmann of UMP and, to the surprise of almost everybody, it was backed almost unanimously.
Marc Le Fur, Vice-President of the Assembly and Breton deputy, expressed his “emotion and satisfaction” after the vote, describing the amendment as “historic”. Other deputies who are pro-minority languages, such as Patricia Adam and Jean-Jacques Urvoas, said they were happy with the approved text but warned that the process of revising the Constitution “had just begun”. On the other hand, UMP deputy Claude Goasguen said that the vote “has nothing to do” with the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages or its ratification.
- MónDivers: França reconeix les llengües minoritzades a la Constitució
- AFP: L'Assemblée inscrit la reconnaissance des langues régionales dans la Constitution
- Ouiaubreton: Les députés viennent d'adopter un amendment incluant les langues régionals dans la Constitution française
- Agence Bretagne Presse: Les langues regionales dans la constitution : Marc Le Fur exprime son emotion et sa satisfaction