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Nationalists’ ‘Patriot Bill’ passes first reading in Slovak Parliament

A bill drawn up by Slovak National Party (SNS) according to which pupils should start their classes with the Slovak national anthem was passed to its second reading in parliament on December 9.

A bill drawn up by Slovak National Party (SNS) according to which pupils should start their classes with the Slovak national anthem was passed to its second reading in parliament on December 9.

According to the proposal, which the SNS says will bolster patriotism, a patriotic oath will be required from MPs and members of regional parliaments when they take office. People will be also asked to recite the oath when receiving Slovak citizenship, their first Slovak passport or identity card.

One of the bill’s proposers, Rafael Rafaj (SNS), said that introduction of such an act is legitimate and needed, as Slovakia is a part of a community "where some king of new idea of 'Europeanness' is promoted". Rafaj said he thinks this is taking place to the detriment of national identities, including the Slovak one. He added that much false information had been published in connection with the proposal. "No singing! Playing the anthem," he commented.

Rafaj said that patriotism deepens and maintains the loyalty of citizens to the state, which is necessary for some jobs such as teachers, soldiers or police officers.

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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