The amendment to the State Language Act approved by the Slovak government on March 11 will not restrict the rights of ethnic minorities to use their language, the Chairman of the Slovak Parliament, Pavol Paška, said following talks with his Hungarian counterpart Katalin Szili in the village of Bela on Thursday, March 12, the TASR newswire wrote.
“Let us defend our national language at home, it's quite common even by larger nations in Europe,” said Paška. Paška appreciated the meeting for its openness. “Formerly, I used to have a feeling that I'm standing in the dock,” said Paška, adding that Slovakia is able to respond to all questions Hungary raises, but currently its foremost concern is to focus on bolstering the economic situation of all people living in the country, without regard to their nationality.
Conversely, Szili expressed Hungary's concerns about the government-proposed bill toughening up use of the ethnic minorities languages. “The words of Chairman Paška are a guarantee that no elements restricting the rights of ethnic minorities to use their language will appear in the final version of the bill,” said Szili.
The chairs also agreed on future talks of the constitutional and foreign affairs parliamentary committees of the two countries, which are expected to resolve issues surrounding the legal status of the ethnic minorities in both Slovakia and Hungary, TASR wrote. Paska and Szili are to meet in June again in order to evaluate the results of the cooperation. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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13. Mar 2009 at 10:00