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Amendment to improve use of Slovak

A REVISION to the state language law, which introduces tougher government control over the proper use of the Slovak language along with fines of up to €5,000, was approved by the cabinet on March 11 and its final form will soon be decided by parliament, the TASR newswire reported.

A REVISION to the state language law, which introduces tougher government control over the proper use of the Slovak language along with fines of up to €5,000, was approved by the cabinet on March 11 and its final form will soon be decided by parliament, the TASR newswire reported.

The amendment will not interfere with the language rights of ethnic minorities, Pavol Paška, the speaker of the Slovak parliament, assured his Hungarian counterpart, Katalin Szilli, at their meeting on March 12.

The amendment will require associations, political parties and social groups to prepare financial and technical reports and statutes in both the state language and in a minority language if such a minority group runs the organisation.

Inscriptions on memorials, monuments and plaques must be written first in Slovak followed by any foreign language text in the same or smaller font size. The same applies to signs, advertising and announcements providing information to the public, TASR wrote.

Construction companies must ask the Culture Ministry to approve inscriptions on the properties they construct in advance in order to avoid further corrections.

If shortcomings and mistakes appear and these are not corrected after repeated attempts by the Culture Ministry, a fine from €100 to €5,000 may be imposed by the ministry.

The amendment will permit people to speak the Czech language in Slovak state offices, on television and radio broadcasts in Slovakia, and allows for live broadcasts in foreign languages with simultaneous translation into Slovak, TASR reported.

‘Non-standard’ use of the Slovak language in public speeches is permitted as well, as long as it is used with a functional purpose.

Minorities can use their native languages at health-care and social facilities in Slovakia provided that they do so only in towns and villages where at least 20 percent of the inhabitants come from the same minority.

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