Article 2 of the French Constitution and the refusal to ratify the European Charter for regional or minority languages and cultures
In March 1981, in Lorient, F. Mitterand talked about ” centuries of suffocation ” and of the ” slow implacable way that trampling on, humiliating and banning a culture could lead to negating the identity of an entire people. People had to learn French, of course, but why oppose it to Breton ?
Attacking a people through its language and culture is to wound it to its very heart.
We proclaim the right to our differences. It is unworthy of France to reject its wealth of diversity. It’s the only country in Europe still to refuse to its various regions those elementary rights which are recognised in the international conventions that it has been signatory to . It is shameful that France does not keep its word.
Despite the 63 Bills presented in favour of regional languages (never, however, addressed by the National Assembly) France decided in 1992 that the Constitution needed changing so that French would become the exclusive language of the Republic.
This provision was voted through, as if by chance, just a few days before the officialising of the European Charter for regional or minority languages and cultures.
In May 1997, in Quimper, Jacques Chirac, talking about this Charter said : ” As far as I am concerned I am quite in favour of signing this ; I see nothing anticonstitutional in it “.
However , very soon after, he addressed the Constitutional Court to refuse its ratification. This attitude leaves France the only European country together with Turkey not to respect this international right.
Moreover, at the same time, this same President of the Republic boasted of having introduced bilingualism into the Constitution. Unfortunately it was into the Constitution of Brazil!
Then, there was talk of integrating the immersive education of the Diwan schools into the national Education system. The State Council, using the Toubon Law about the Article 2 of the Constitution in a partial and a partisan fashion, declared that this type of teaching was anticonstitutional.