The European Commission for Democracy through Law, better known as the Venice Commission, is scheduled to meet on October 15 and 16 in Slovakia to give its opinion on the country’s State Language Act and its implementation rules, the Foreign Affairs Ministry informed the TASR newswire on September 12.
Slovakia asked the commission for its legal opinion in September last year when an amendment to the State Language Act that became effective that month touched off many disputes among various nationalities in Slovakia. A financial penalty for violations of the law was one of the issues that attracted the most criticism.
The commission members visited Slovakia in January and met Slovak officials and representatives of ethnic minorities and civil society. The High Commissioner of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Knut Vollebaek, visited Bratislava twice to discuss the amendment and said the drive to bolster the use of the state language was appropriate but stated that this should be done without diminishing the exercise of minority rights.
Prime Minister Iveta Radičová's cabinet pledged in its programme statement to remove senseless restrictions and limitations in minority-related laws. The Culture Ministry is currently working on an amendment to the state language law, TASR reported.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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