1. Juli 2014

European Free Alliance will hold 2015 General Assembly in Budyšin / Bautzen



The European Free Alliance (EFA) will hold its 2015 General Assembly in the city of Budyšin /Bautzen in April 2015.  It will be hosted by the Sorbian party the Lusatia Alliance ( Łužyska Alianca ). The EFA youth section, EFAy, and the European political foundation CMC, will also participate in this joint event.

The event will bring Bautzen and the Sorbian people into the media spotlight and will help to raise awareness about the many challenges that today’s Sorbs face. The European Free Alliance Party particularly welcomes this collaboration with our Sorbian colleagues in the Lusatia Alliance as we work together to solve the economic, social, and cultural problems that the Sorbian people continue to face. EFA member parties are looking forward especially to holding the General Assembly in Sorbian capital of Budyšin / Bautzen. Besides the challenges of language decline and lack of status as a national minority, one of the biggest problems the Sorbs have faced is the devastating effect that open-cast coal mining has had on their territory. Furthermore, while the Sorbs have seen their homelands destroyed, they have seen little in terms of benefit or compensation from the German Government. Speaking at the EFA General Assembly in Galicia in February, Lusatia Alliance board member, Ralph Thomas Kappler, and the President, Hans-Wilhelm Kell, tabled a declaration which strongly criticised the federal and regional German government over the damage done to Sorbians and their lands. The declaration was adopted by all EFA member parties. In addition, EFA urged the German Government to recognize the right to self-determination of the Lusatian Slavs. There has been a long history of oppression and protest, including forced dispersion under German governments. Over 3,000 square kilometres of fertile farmland have been cleared to make way for open cast coal mining. 136 Lusatian villages were destroyed in a Germany that today proclaims itself the champion of green technology and ecology. Furthermore, as German State TV MDR revealed, irreplaceable landscapes and Sorb villages continue to be destroyed on the basis of a Nazi-era law. This law, which is yet to be repealed, has made it possible to confiscate privately owned houses and commercial properties in Lusatia up to the present day. More recently the current German government has allowed the Swedish state energy trust, Vattenfall, to use the law not only to forcibly remove people but to destroy an area in Lusatia the size of Luxembourg. Lignite burning emits three times as much CO2 as natural gas. Vattenfall's Jaenschwalde and Boxberg plants in Lusatia are among the 10 most polluting in Europe, according to the European Pollutant Emission Register

Speaking at the EFA General Assembly Mr Kappler said that “incompetent and autocratic” authorities have also interfered so as to disrupt Sorbian-medium education and intergenerational transmission of the language. This coupled with Sorbian youth leaving the area to look for work may result in the disappearance of the Sorbian people altogether, said Kappler.





The Wendische Volkspartei originally founded in 1919, is now called the Lusatia Allianz / ŁUŽISKA ALIANCA, and was re-established in 2005. It became an EFA observer party in 2009 and a full member in 2014. In the local elections on 25th May they won their first seat and are planning a campaign for the Brandenbrug and Sachsen Lander elections in September.

The Sorbs are a Western Slavic people of central Europe living predominantly in Lusatia, a region lying between Germany and Poland. In Germany they live in the states of Brandenburg and Saxony. They speak the Sorbian languages (Wendish, Lusatian), closely related to Polish and Czech, and which is officially recognized and protected as a minority language of Germany.



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EFA comprises 40 member parties in 17 EU Member-States, it has 7 MEPs in the European Parliament and, amongst other objectives, works for territorial self-determination and a Europe of the peoples. MORE: 
https://independent.academia.edu/RalphThomasKappler




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