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27.5.08

Constitutional Recognition of 'Regional' Languages

The status of the Breton language took an unusual turn last Thursday (22nd May), as a proposed amendment to the French Constitution was voted for by the French National Assembly in Paris.

The amendment states that the 'regional' languages of France are part of the heritage of France, but the new amendment will only apply to Article 1 of the Constitution and not the much disputed Article 2, which states that the language of France is French. The amendment has therefore received only a lukewarm response by Breton nationalist parties like the Union Démocratique Bretonne, because of its restricted nature.

Also campaigners are asking why, earlier this month, Members of the National Assembly rejected recognition of the 'regional' languages of France, only to seemingly change their mind with this latest amendment. The new amendment still needs to be ratified by the French Senate, which seems likely, but whether this new amendment will change anything in real terms remains to be seen.

Some, like 2007 French Presidential Candidate Francois Bayrou, see the amendment as an important step towards the ratification by France of the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages, but most, understandably, remain highly sceptical.

See related articles in Celtic News at:

http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/celtic_ league/message/ 2606
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