Ministry marks 15 years of protection for Slovenian minority in Italy
Without it the minority's protection would be subject only to partial area-specific regulations, the ministry said.
The Italian Senate passed the protection act on 14 February 2001, under which the Slovenian community is recognized as a minority, giving its members special rights.
These include using their mother tongue in contacts with local authorities and the right to public schools of all levels with Slovenian as the teaching language.
This way the community can nurture Slovenian culture and language, as well as shape its own future, the ministry said in a press release.
"Today, our relations with Italy are excellent. The Slovenian minority in Italy and the Italian minority in Slovenia play an important role in the countries' relations," the ministry said.
"But only minorities that have been given the opportunity to fully develop their identity can successfully fulfil this role," the ministry added, noting that some provisions of the act have yet to be implemented.
"Countries must constantly strive to maintain favourable conditions in which citizens and minorities can express and develop their identity. European history has taught us that protection of national minorities is essential to maintain stability and peace on our continent."