Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament Katalin Szili sent her Slovak counterpart Pavol Paška a joint declaration of Hungarian parliamentary parties calling on Slovakia to
withdraw the amendment to the State Language Act, news wire TASR reported.
Szili requested Paška to familiarise Slovak MPs with the content of the declaration. Apart from Szili of the Hungarian Socialist Party, the document was signed by Alliance
of Free Democrats–Hungarian Liberal Party chairman János Kóka, Hungarian Socialist Party deputy caucus leader Tibor Kovács, Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Zsolt Németh (FIDESZ) and Christian Democrat People's Party chairman Zsolt Semjén, TASR wrote.
Kóka said it is necessary to use all diplomatic means and those of international law available to persuade Slovakia to annul the amendment before it enters into force in September.
The Slovak parliament passed the long-discussed Language Act – proposed by Culture Minister Marek Maďarič – on June 30. The amended law introduces fines of up to €5,000 for the use of incorrect Slovak from September 2009, and will also enable stricter official supervision of the use of ‘correct’ Slovak.
According to the law, doctors, nurses and caretakers in health-care and social facilities in municipalities in which significant ethnic minorities live may speak with patients and clients in the language of those minorities. If texts on memorials and plaques are written in both the state language and a foreign language, the foreign inscription may not be bigger than the inscription in the state language.