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Slovak parliament passes amendment to Act on Use of Minority Languages

MPs from the ruling coalition parties passed the amendment to the Act on Use of Minority Languages, drafted by Deputy Prime Minister Rudolf Chmel (Most-Híd), with 78 votes on May 25, the TASR newswire wrote. The vote, personally watched the Hungarian Ambassador to Slovakia, Antal Heizer, who was greeted by a chorus of protest whistles and boos coming from Smer MPs, the TASR newswire wrote.

MPs from the ruling coalition parties passed the amendment to the Act on Use of Minority Languages, drafted by Deputy Prime Minister Rudolf Chmel (Most-Híd), with 78 votes on May 25, the TASR newswire wrote.

The vote, personally watched the Hungarian Ambassador to Slovakia, Antal Heizer, who was greeted by a chorus of protest whistles and boos coming from Smer MPs, the TASR newswire wrote.

The final version of the passed legislation is different from the original proposal submitted by Béla Bugár's Most-Hid party because of a number of objections raised by independent MP Igor Matovič. The current 20-percent threshold for the official use of minority languages in ethnically-mixed towns and villages will be reduced to 15 percent – 10 years from now.

Matovič also pushed through the concession that consent of a mayor and not only local councillors will be required in order to have town council deliberations in minority languages. Additionally, members of minority communities will not be able to use their language everywhere in Slovakia as the original proposal stipulated, and health care as well as social facilities will not be required to hire translators for minority languages.

According to Slovak law, recognised minorities in Slovakia are Hungarian, Bulgarian, Czech, Croatian, German, Polish, Roma, Ruthenian and Ukrainian.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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