Saturday, 8 January 2011

The Celtic League reviews 2010 for Brittany

The Celtic League has produced its review -full version here- of 2010 for the Celtic nations. The section relevant to Brittany is reproduced here.

Linguistically 2010 was an exciting time for the Celtic nations, especially during the second half of the year. In December 2010 alone, the Cornish and Manx languages were reclassified by UNESCO, the Welsh Assembly voted unanimously in favour of a new Welsh Language law creating a new system of placing duties on bodies to provide services in Welsh, the Irish government launched their ambitious 20 year strategy for the Irish language and the introduction of the `Regional' Language Bill (développement des langues et cultures régionales) in France, which will bring the French state in line with European legal norms, potentially having a huge impact on the revival of the Breton language.

Linked to the revival of Breton, protesters demanded that post offices in Brittany use the language in their working practice, with a much publicised sit-in at Landerne/Landerneau Post Office - a town that has been traditionally applauded for its use of the language in the public sphere. Police were brought in to break the peaceful protest up, but the message is clear – the Breton language needs much more support if it is to survive into the future. With estimates in 2010 showing that approximately 10 000 speakers are lost on an annual basis, something desperately need to be done.

Creating a political alliance with the Greens (Europe Ecologie Bretagne) in the French regional elections in March 2010 - which decided who was to be the Regional President for the Breton Regional Council - provided the Union Démocratique Bretonne (UDB) with one more regional councilor taking their number up to 4 representatives (the same as MK in Cornwall). Parti Breton also stood in the regional elections in their own right, but didn't win a regional council seat. Another nationalist Breton political party, Mouvement Bretagne Progres, was formed in December 2010 by Christian Troadec, who was once closely allied with the UDB.

Before the March 2010 elections, people travelled from all over Breizh/Brittany to take part in a `Freque Humaine' to show Breton politicians that the issue of Breton reunification should be firmly on the political agenda. The organisations responsible for the organisation of the peaceful event were Bretagne Réunie and 44=BZH, but reunification hasn't featured much on the political scene in Brittany over the last 12 months with the exception of the arrest, verbal assault and prolonged detention of a Breton youth for spraying pro reunification graffiti in the town of Le Mans in Loire-Atlantique. There are no major elections or political developments planned in Brittany in 2011.

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