Representatives of Slovaks living abroad are concerned about cuts in their grants, said Vladimír Skalský, the head of the Association of Slovaks Living Abroad (SZSZ) during his official visit to the Presidential Palace on November 29, the TASR newswire reported.
An SZSZ delegation, here for a conference of the Office for Slovaks Living Abroad in Bratislava, met President Ivan Gašparovič and his wife Silvia. Skalský noted that the grant programme for Slovaks abroad, which was supposed to be guaranteed at a minimum of €1.3 million, has been set at less than €1.16 million in the budget draft for 2011.
"I believe that cuts in the area of the education of Slovak children who wish to learn Slovak are inappropriate. Their [national] identity must be preserved," said Skalský.
Although Gasparovic expressed understanding for the association's concerns, he called the cuts a "necessary measure" as part of moves aimed at helping Slovakia to overcome problems caused by the economic crisis.
Skalský also brought up the issue of voting via the internet. Unofficial figures put the number of ethnic Slovaks living abroad at 2.2 million, with 200,000-300,000 holding Slovak citizenship.
"We assume that 5 percent of voters could vote from abroad, that's quite a large number," he said, expressing his hope that a law to this effect could be passed before the next general election due in 2014. Gašparovič was less optimistic in this respect, however, adding that security measures aren't adequate at the moment to ensure that the system would not be misused.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
30. Nov 2010 at 14:00