Slovakia expects Hungary to stop spreading lies and misinformation about last year’s amendment to the State Language Act, Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák told the TASR newswire following his discussions with Knut Vollebaek, the High Commissioner for Minorities for the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on February 8 in Bratislava.
The Foreign Ministry head invited the commissioner to judge for himself the legislative amendment that has raised protests from the Hungarian minority in Slovakia who have claimed that it curtails their language rights.
Speaking about the amendment, Vollebaek welcomed the initiative to strengthen the usage of the state language, but he stressed the need for doing so in a way that would not curtail the exercise of minority rights. Referring to what the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) had said earlier in the day that it would submit its draft bill to him for use of minority languages by the end of March, Vollebaek said he saw scope for further amendments to the current state language legislation.
Hungary has expressed support for their compatriots living in Slovakia, and its premier Gordon Bajnai recently announced having set up a fund to pay for fines that may be issued for violation of the State Language Act. Lajčák described the fund’s creation as unorthodox conduct, adding that he is also seeking the European Commission's opinion on the matter.
The SMK said that Vollebaek's press statement issued at the Foreign Ministry indicating he had discussed the fund set up by Hungary to pay for the fines incurred by its minority in Slovakia with SMK earlier in the day is false. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
9. Feb 2010 at 10:00