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Document 32023D1662

Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2023/1662 of 16 August 2023 on the request for registration, pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2019/788 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of the European citizens’ initiative entitled ‘Preservation and development of Ukrainian culture, education, language, and traditions in EU states’ (Only the English text is authentic)

C/2023/5560

OJ L 210, 25.8.2023, p. 30–32 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, GA, HR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)

Legal status of the document In force

ELI: http://data.europa.eu/eli/dec_impl/2023/1662/oj

25.8.2023   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

L 210/30


COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING DECISION (EU) 2023/1662

of 16 August 2023

on the request for registration, pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2019/788 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of the European citizens’ initiative entitled ‘Preservation and development of Ukrainian culture, education, language, and traditions in EU states’

(Only the English text is authentic)

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

Having regard to Regulation (EU) 2019/788 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2019 on the European citizens’ initiative (1), and in particular Article 6(2) and (3) thereof,

Whereas:

(1)

A request for registration of a European citizens’ initiative entitled ‘Preservation and development of Ukrainian culture, education, language, and traditions in EU states’ was submitted to the Commission on 17 July 2023.

(2)

That request follows the request for registration of a European citizens’ initiative entitled ‘EU Citizens’ Initiative on granting special status to the Ukrainian language in the European Union’ which was submitted to the Commission on 26 April 2023.

(3)

By letter of 24 May 2023 (C(2023) 3440 final), pursuant to Article 6(4) of Regulation (EU) 2019/788, the Commission informed the group of organisers that as regards the request for registration submitted on 26 April 2023, the requirements for registration set out in Article 6(3), first subparagraph, points (a), (d) and (e), of that Regulation were fulfilled and that Article 6(3), first subparagraph, point (b), thereof was not applicable. However, the Commission also explained that the initiative did not fulfil the requirement set out in Article 6(3), first subparagraph, point (c), of Regulation (EU) 2019/788. The initiative referred to the Council of Europe’s European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages as the relevant legal basis, rather than provisions of the Treaties. In examining the objectives of the initiative, the Commission referred to Article 342 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and explained that this did not provide a legal basis for the Commission to propose a Council regulation governing the use of the Ukrainian language in the institutions of the Union, as Article 342 TFEU does not provide for any role for the Commission. Similarly, as regards the right to use the Ukrainian language to communicate with local authorities and government bodies, the Commission is not empowered to propose any legislation in this regard. As regards the objective of increasing awareness of linguistic diversity and multilingualism in the Union and promoting policies that support the protection and promotion of minority languages and cultures across Europe, while the Commission could propose legislation based on Article 167 TFEU, in light of Article 167(5) TFEU, any action by the Commission would have to be limited to ‘incentive measures’. The Commission therefore informed the organisers pursuant to Article 6(4), first subparagraph, of Regulation (EU) 2019/788 that they could either amend the initiative to take into account the Commission’s assessment, or maintain, or withdraw, the initial initiative in accordance with Article 6(4), second subparagraph, of Regulation (EU) 2019/788.

(4)

On 17 July 2023, the group of organisers resubmitted the initiative.

(5)

The objectives of the amended initiative are expressed by the organisers as follows: ‘for the EU to take additional actions in supporting Ukrainian refugees. The Commission could propose legislation based on Article 167 TFEU, focusing on national and regional diversity and cultural heritage. The initiative aims to bridge cultural gaps and empower Ukrainian cultural and linguistic heritage in the EU community, fostering a sense of belonging and promoting integration for Ukrainian refugees. We can work towards a more inclusive and harmonious Europe by recognizing and embracing linguistic diversity and cultural identities, by establishing a pan-European structure of integration centers.’

(6)

An annex to the amended initiative provides further details on the subject matter, objectives and background to the initiative. It refers to the preservation of culture, language, traditions and heritage of Ukrainian refugees and the ‘formulation of a legislative strategy to protect the Ukrainian language as a future language of the EU’. In this context, the annex mentions Ukraine’s status as a candidate for Union membership among the ‘grounds for the full integration of Ukrainian citizens into the European community’. The amended initiative thus aims to ‘preserve and develop Ukrainian culture, education, language and traditions in EU countries’ on the basis of Article 167(2), (3) and (4) TFEU. In order to achieve these aims, the organisers propose the establishment of information centres in Member States with a Ukrainian refugee population of no less than 10 000 persons, ‘with financial support and under the auspices of European Union structures’.

(7)

The Commission considers that the measures called for by the initiative could, in principle, be proposed under Article 79(4) TFEU, which allows for the adoption of ‘measures to provide incentives and support for the action of Member States with a view to promoting the integration of third-country nationals residing legally in their territories’ but ‘excluding any harmonisation of the laws and regulations of the Member States’. Provided that the initiative is limited to the promotion of the integration of Ukrainian refugees in the Member States concerned, Article 79(4) TFEU would be an appropriate legal basis. Such integration could imply the acquisition of the knowledge of the national languages and of the society of the Member States concerned with a view to facilitating communication between Ukrainian refugees and citizens of the Union, and encouraging interaction and the development of social relations between them.

(8)

The Commission also considers that Article 78(2), point (c), TFEU, whereby legislative measures may be adopted for ‘a common system of temporary protection for displaced persons in the event of a massive inflow’, could be an additional legal basis, provided that the initiative is limited to Ukrainian refugees that are beneficiaries of temporary protection only and that the temporal scope of the initiative is then limited to the duration of the temporary protection.

(9)

In addition, as regards the specific measures proposed by the amended initiative to preserve the culture, language, traditions and heritage of Ukrainian people, the Commission has powers to submit a proposal for a legal act of the Union on the basis of Article 167 TFEU, in order to improve the knowledge and dissemination of the culture of the European peoples and safeguard cultural heritage. However, pursuant to Article 167(5) TFEU, any action by the Commission in this respect would have to be limited to proposing ‘incentive measures’.

(10)

For those reasons, the Commission considers that none of the parts of the amended initiative manifestly fall outside the framework of the Commission’s powers to submit a proposal for a legal act of the Union for the purpose of implementing the Treaties.

(11)

That conclusion is without prejudice to the assessment of whether the concrete substantive conditions required for the Commission to act, including compliance with the principles of proportionality and subsidiarity and compatibility with fundamental rights, would be met in this case.

(12)

The group of organisers has provided appropriate evidence that it fulfils the requirements laid down in Article 5(1) and (2) of Regulation (EU) 2019/788 and has designated the contact persons in accordance with Article 5(3), first subparagraph, of that Regulation.

(13)

The amended initiative is not manifestly abusive, frivolous or vexatious, nor is it manifestly contrary to the values of the Union as set out in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union or to the rights enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

(14)

The initiative entitled ‘Preservation and development of Ukrainian culture, education, language, and traditions in EU states’ should therefore be registered.

(15)

The conclusion that the conditions for registration under Article 6(3) of Regulation (EU) 2019/788 are fulfilled does not imply that the Commission in any way confirms the factual correctness of the content of the amended initiative, which is the sole responsibility of the group of organisers of the initiative. The content of the amended initiative only expresses the views of the group of organisers, and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the Commission,

HAS ADOPTED THIS DECISION:

Article 1

The European citizens’ initiative entitled ‘Preservation and development of Ukrainian culture, education, language, and traditions in EU states’ shall be registered.

Article 2

This Decision is addressed to the group of organisers of the citizens’ initiative ‘Preservation and development of Ukrainian culture, education, language, and traditions in EU states’, represented by Mr Konstantins ČERŅENOKS and Mr Dmitrijs SARAFANOVS acting as contact persons.

Done at Brussels, 16 August 2023.

For the Commission

Věra JOUROVÁ

Vice-President


(1)  OJ L 130, 17.5.2019, p. 55.


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