The Slovenia Times

Austrian ambassador summoned over FPÖ youth's post

The headquarters of the Slovenian Foreign Ministry. Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA

The Slovenian Foreign Ministry has announced it will summon Austrian Ambassador Elisabeth Ellison-Kramer for a meeting after the youth wing of the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) posted a message targeting the Slovenian minority to social media.

The ministry condemned in the strongest terms the Instagram post in which the Carinthian FPÖ youth wing urged voters to remove the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) from power at the upcoming provincial elections and thus stop the province's "Slovenisation".

The ministry has sent a verbal note to the Austrian Ministry for European and International Affairs through the Slovenian Embassy in Vienna to express concern over the post.

"The post is an abject act against the Slovenian ethnic community in the Austrian province of Carinthia and a show of ostracising of the Slovenian language and culture, which are a precious part of the identity of Austrian Carinthia," the ministry said in a written statement on 9 February.

The ministry called on Austria to fully implement minority rights under Article 7 of the Austrian State Treaty. It expects the provincial and federal authorities to take steps to protect the constitutional rights of the Slovenian minority.

The ministry is particularly concerned because the inappropriate rhetoric appeared on a platform that is aimed at young people.

"Slovenia and Austria are friendly nations that are committed to fundamental European values," the ministry wrote. It noted that in an act of reconciliation marking the centenary of the Carinthian plebiscite three years ago the presidents of the two countries showed respect for cultural and language diversity.

At the ceremony at the time Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen apologised to the Carinthian Slovenians in their language for the wrongs they suffered and delays in realisation of their constitutional rights.

The contentious post, which has since been taken down from the FPÖ youth wing's Instagram profile, has also been condemned by the Social Democrats, the party of Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon, and the opposition Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS).

MEP Romana Tomc (SDS/EPP) described the post as an unacceptable attack, calling on the FPÖ to distance itself from "this unacceptable hate speech by its youth organisation".

Manuel Jug, the president of the Association of Slovenian Organisations (ZSO) in Carinthia, condemned the post earlier in the week. He expressed regret that the FPÖ and its Carinthia youth organisation were "trying to incite hatred against our language and our culture, which has always been part of Carinthia's identity"


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