The collection of signatures for the European Citizens’ Initiative on protecting national regions will continue on Saturday after the EU approved a later deadline for the petition due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Organizers asked Olympic champion swimmer Katinka Hosszú and renowned football player László Bölöni to promote the drive to an international audience.

The citizens’ initiative of the Szekler National Council (SZNT) can be signed online in all EU Member States until November 7th, but the SZNT is collecting signatures on paper as well.

In order for the initiative to be discussed in the European Parliament, one million petitions must be collected in at least seven EU member states. While one million signatures have indeed been gathered, the threshold has only been reached in three countries.

Thus, the organizers have also launched an English campaign, and they have asked three-time Olympic champion swimmer Katinka Hosszú to be the face of it. Renowned football player and coach, László Bölöni, will also help promote the campaign internationally.

According to the SZNT, the legitimacy of the initiative would be greatly increased if millions more signatures were collected, and the territorial threshold reached in at least 10-15 countries.

László Pesty, the head of the campaign team, told daily Magyar Nemzet that they had selected seven new countries where they would collect signatures. In Croatia, Slovenia, Spain, Lithuania, Sweden, Estonia and Latvia, the team produced special campaign materials in the languages of local ethnic minorities in order to gain their support.

The initiative aims to convince the European Commission to create a cohesion policy that instead of directing cohesion funds to national governments alone, allocates some of the transfers directly to ‘ethno-regions’ in order to help them develop their infrastructure and thereby preserve their linguistic and cultural heritage.

Featured photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI 

(Hungary Today)

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