Three parties answer questions from foreign Slovaks

ONLY three parliamentary parties – Smer, Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) and Nova – have answered questions by Slovaks living abroad concerning an increase in grant funding to at least €1.3 million.

(Source: SME)

They also broached the question of voting via the internet or at Slovak embassies abroad and re-forming the Commission for Slovaks Living Abroad under the foreign affairs committee of the Slovak parliament, said Vladimír Skalský, president of the World Association of Slovaks Living Abroad.

Nova, which is now part of the Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) movement, supports an increase in funding. It sees this form of support as essential, especially in a situation wherein hundreds of thousands of young people living abroad do not feel that Slovakia is interested in them, the TASR newswire reported.

SaS sees a need for an increase in funding as well. It promised to tackle the issue as soon as the overall state budget allows.

“The government supports the national awareness and cultural identity of Slovaks living abroad and their links to their home country in line with the constitutional and legislative framework of the Slovak Republic in the field of education, science and research, spiritual and cultural life and the media,” reads the statement of the ruling Smer party, as quoted by TASR.

Smer pointed to the fact that the Office for Slovaks Living Abroad distributed subsidies totalling almost €1.145 million in 2014.

“In addition, money for the environment of expatriate communities is also provided by other institutions and state authorities, chiefly the Education Ministry and the Culture Ministry in cooperation with the Foreign Affairs Ministry,” the party continued.

Read also:Slovak expats want more attention from politicians Read more 

Nova and SaS claim to support more convenient voting from abroad. They find the current system of voting via mail complicated, cumbersome and inflexible.

“The issue of voting via the internet or at embassies is a matter of judgement by political parties in parliament, where all aspects – including financial ones – need to be regarded,” stated Smer, as quoted by TASR.

Concerning the re-forming of the Commission for Slovaks Living Abroad in parliament, Nova and SaS would support this. Smer stresses that the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the government and parliament, during meetings with expatriates, are still searching for an optimum model of communication with representatives of Slovaks living abroad, TASR wrote.

The answers were sent by Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák, SaS’s Martin Klus and Vladimír Dolinay of Nova.

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