The European Free Alliance expresses its concern for the future of the Frisian language television broadcaster, Omrop Fryslân (OF), after the Dutch government has threatened to make drastic cuts to its budget. The government is treating the Frisian language television provider almost in the same way as every other regional channel, despite its unique characteristic of being a sole provider for a recognised minority language. They aim to centralise all regional broadcasters in one structure causing the Frisian broadcaster to lose its autonomy. EFA opposes this trend throughout Europe where special language broadcasters are under threat.
The European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages, which the Dutch Government has ratified, specifically obliges support (Art 11) and autonomy for regional language radio and TV. The Netherlands will clearly contravene the ECRML, a treaty which forms part of the Copenhagen criteria for EU accession, if it cuts OF funding.
EFA MEP and EFA Group President Josep Maria Terricabras said:
"The European Union has made a commitment to ensuring the protection of regional and minority languages on a number of occasions.
We cannot underestimate the importance that TV and Radio has on the maintenance and development of a language. The Dutch Government has a duty of care to ensure that a minority language within its territory is able to survive and flourish, but these proposed cuts are a threat to the financial future of Omrop Fryslân and to its autonomy."
The European Free Alliance fully supports its member party, the Fryske Nasjonale Partij, in its efforts to prevent these cut-backs. We also call on the European Union to use its influence to ensure that the Dutch government acts in accordance to the EU's founding principles and to the treaties that it has ratified.