Report Shows Slovene Govt. Meeting Bilingual Obligations to Italian, Hungarian Minorities

By , 19 Oct 2018, 11:50 AM News
Report Shows Slovene Govt. Meeting Bilingual Obligations to Italian, Hungarian Minorities JL Flanner

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STA, 18 October 2018 - The Human Rights Ombudsman has found that the Slovenian police, administrative units and courts did not breach regulations governing bilinguality, which apply in areas where the Hungarian and Italian minorities live. Still, Ombudsman Vlasta Nussdorfer said this did not mean irregularities were not taking place. 

She explained to MPs on Thursday that apart from some specific proposals to check the situation on the ground, the Ombudsman had also checked several institutions in Lendava and Koper to see if regulations were respected.

Nussdorfer appeared before the parliamentary Commission for National Communities on Thursday as the MPs discussed the implementation of the government's measures on bilinguality to present the part of her report for 2017 regarding minority rights.

Minority representatives had often pointed to the gap between rights being formally guaranteed while often not being fully implemented because of a variety of reasons, including a lack of bilingual staff on the coast, which is home to the Italian minority, and in Pomurje, where the Hungarian minority lives.

The commission also discussed a report on the implementation of government bilinguality measures for 2017, which had been compiled by a task force featuring representatives of several ministries as well as the Italian and Hungarian minorities.

The report says the measures were "successfully realized", with Alberto Scheriani, a representative of the Italian self-governing body from the coast, saying the attitude to Italian had been improving on the coast by the year.

Nevertheless, there is still a lot to do, with many issues pertaining to various forms that should be translated into the minority language, he added.

While many forms have been translated, it would be better if they were bilingual, said Ferenc Horvath, the MP for the Hungarian minority.

Judit Vida Törnar, a representative of the Hungarian self-governing unit from the Lendava municipality, complained that state institutions often failed to hire workers who could also speak Hungarian.

But Ljudmila Novak, an MP of the conservative New Slovenia (NSi), noted it would not be right to require that all Slovenians working for a state institution or a health community centre were able to speak Hungarian proficiently.

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