The Slovak National Party (SNS) said on March 19 that the Council of Europe’s (COE) report on racism and intolerance in Slovakia is “not objective, is untrue and grossly harms Slovakia's image” the TASR newswire wrote.
SNS vice chair Anna Belousovová said at a news conference in Bratislava that the party will demand that the Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry reject the information published in the report. Belousovová said that intolerance was committed by the author of the report - the COE’s European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance, according to TASR.
The Culture Ministry’s State Secretary, Augustín Lang, who is an SNS nominee, said that the report ignores ten out of 12 minorities in Slovakia, as it concentrates only on Hungarians and Roma. He said that the report is based on the views of independent experts but that it is politically exposed and includes substantial errors in its methods, TASR wrote.
Lang also defended the new amendment to the State Language Act and said that sanctions were introduced to the law because it was not possible to enforce it in any other way. He said that the Act deals primarily with the state language and not with the languages of minorities, which can be used in the public domain in situations where such use is guaranteed by Slovakia's international legal obligations.
The state secretary also pointed out that the amendment to the law was approved by 11 out of 12 minority representatives in the Council for Minorities, while comments from the Hungarian minority were included for discussion.
Belousovová also used the news conference to talk about the economic crisis and said that investing in long-term projects is an anti-crisis priority for the party. She said that SNS wants to invest in projects in areas such as water management, heating and energy sources. It wants to obtain an additional €86.3 million from the state budget to insulate older houses and build new rental apartments.
Among other projects that Belousovová mentioned were anti-flood barriers, water pipelines, sewage systems and water-cleaning facilities. She said that these investments create jobs and will be used after the crisis is over as well. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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