European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages – The Language Guides

The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML) is the only convention in the world devoted to the protection and promotion of languages used by traditional national and ethnic minorities (

Since its opening in 1992, 25 states, members of the Council of Europe, have ratified the convention. After the ratification, the convention is entering into force and is being implemented in the respective State. The Charter obliges its States Parties to actively promote the use of regional or minority languages in virtually all domains of public life: education, courts, administration, media, culture, economic and social life, and trans-frontier co-operation. However, due to its ‘menu’ system, no language can be covered by the whole Charter. Rather, the states apply to each language Part II and to bigger language groups also an individual selection of provisions from Part III of the Charter in accordance with the situation of the language.

In order to make it more practical, the Council of Europe is issuing special language guides. The language guides were conceived to provide NGOs with an overview of the provisions applying to languages covered by the Charter and to structure and intensify the dialogue between the minority language speakers/their NGOs and the authorities of the states concerned. This citizen’s guide does not replace the Charter. For the authentic wording of all the provisions accepted by the Parties and the list of regional or minority languages covered by them, please refer to the Council of Europe’s website at .

Currently,  there are language guides for:

Bosnian (Serbia); Croat (Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia); German (Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Ukraine); Italian (Slovenia); Moldovan (Ukraine); Polish (Hungary, Romania, Slovakia); Romani (Finland, Norway, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, The Netherlands); Romanian (Hungary, Serbia, Ukraine), Russian (Armenia, Finland, Poland, Romania, Ukraine*);  Swedish (Finland).

Further language guides will be gradually prepared.


ECMI is hosting these guides in cooperation with the Council of Europe.  


* All language guides in Russian can also be obtained in printed form from the Charter Secretariat.

Page updated: 29.06.2010
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