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Ruling coalition prepares compromise on Minority Language law

After series of unofficial discussions, the Slovak ruling coalition is hopeful that it has come up with a compromise that will enable it to pass the Act on Minority Languages, the Sme daily wrote on May 25. On the evening of most of the MPs from the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) who had already supported the draft bill of Igor Matovič from the Ordinary People faction of the Freedom and Solidarity party were able to reach an agreement with the Most-Híd party.

After series of unofficial discussions, the Slovak ruling coalition is hopeful that it has come up with a compromise that will enable it to pass the Act on Minority Languages, the Sme daily wrote on May 25. On the evening of most of the MPs from the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) who had already supported the draft bill of Igor Matovič from the Ordinary People faction of the Freedom and Solidarity party were able to reach an agreement with the Most-Híd party.

According to this proposal, the municipalities that obtained the right to use a minority language in 1991 will preserve it for the next ten years. Thus, the present rules would be continued in a municipality with 20 percent of its population belonging to a minority that would have the right to use signs and billboards in both majority and minority languages. The draft bill calls for this limit to be decreased to 15 percent of the population, after 2021.

"We had to accept a compromise," said Béla Bugár, chair of Most-Híd, as quoted by Sme. "It is acceptable for all and I hope this will be reflected in the voting."

This law is crucial legislation for Most-Híd but it has had a hard time coming to an agreement with its coalition partners. The proposed law includes changes concerning the use of minority language at offices: public institutions will not have to secure interpreters in all parts of Slovakia, nor in health-care or social service facilities. Opposition MPs criticised the proposed changes calling them anti-national.

Source: Sme

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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