Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Pavol Hamžík announced at a press conference on May 25 that the cabinet would gather at a special session on May 31 to deal with the long-awaited law on the use of minority languages in official contacts. The draft law will be submitted to parliament the same day, and MP's should discuss it during their June session.
Hamžík said that the law is still not in its final form, and that intensive negotiations on the final text continue. He expects the final version to be the result of a compromise between all four government parties, including the ethnic Hungarian SMK party.
The government has received a letter form OSCE High Commissioner Max van der Stoel communicating that international observers approve of the spirit of the prepared document and see the details of the law as Slovakia's business entirely.
Last week the head of European Commission delegation to Slovakia, Walter Rochel, said that when Slovakia elects its president on May 29 and adopts a law on minority language use, there will be no further internal obstacles to starting EU entry talks with Slovakia.
By passing the minority language law, Slovakia would fulfill the last political criteria the EU-Slovakia Joint Parliamentary Committee set for returning the country to the EU integration track.
31. May 1999 at 0:00 | From press reports of TASR and SITA