New Bill Could Create 200,000-Strong ‘Minority’ from Ex-Yu in Slovenia

By , 05 Feb 2018, 10:45 AM News
Figures based in the 2002 census Figures based in the 2002 census Wikimedia - public domain

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Concerns raised among Italian, Hungarian and German speakers. 

STA, February 5, 2018 - A bill on the implementation of collective cultural rights of ethnic groups from the former Yugoslavia in Slovenia put forward by the coalition SMC and the opposition Left, has opened a debate on all minorities in Slovenia and their rights, the newspaper Dnevnik says in Monday's commentary.

The presentation of the bill last week prompted the German-speaking community in Slovenia to point to their rights and opened a debate on the protection of the few members of the Italian and Hungarian communities living on the border on the one hand, and all other groups, including Croats, Serbs, Jews and the Roma, on the other.

The balance of the hierarchy that was once established among the many communities based on political rivalry, historical colonial pacts, wars, genocide, emigration and racism, has now been somewhat shaken by the immigrants from former Yugoslavia - Albanians, Bosnians, Montenegrins, Macedonians, Serbs and Croats, the paper suggests.

"That is a potential two hundred thousand-member 'new' minority. It is not really new though, given that they have lived here for two to three generations and almost half a century. But they have not been here for a century or more as some other 'old minorities'."

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The most commonly known foreign languages in Slovenia in 2005. According to Eurostat. Image: Wikimedia - Aaker, CC BY-SA 3.0

Those enjoying the official status of minorities were upset, with Hungary already voicing concern that some other minority would attain the constitutional rights that the Hungarian and (Italian) minorities enjoy in Slovenia.

Meanwhile, the right-leaning Austrian government coalition raised its voice, advocating the rights of the German minority in Slovenia and South Tyrol, Italy.

The demands of the Croatian government and President Kolinda Grabar - Kitarović are getting louder as well, given that the Slovenian minority also enjoys certain constitutional rights in Croatia.

"This is the regional atmosphere in which the (pre-election) debate of MPs on the cultural rights of ethnic groups from the former Yugoslavia will be held," the paper says in the commentary entitled It 'Takes All Sorts to Make a World'.

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