The Slovenia Times

Slovenia deems change of Carinthian constitution symbolic move


"This is...a symbolic act signifying a change of atmosphere in Carintia that creates opportunities for the strengthening of minority rights, bilingual education and the status of the Slovenian language in public," the Foreign Ministry said.

But the ministry was quick to point out that the "existence and development" of the minority in Carinthia as well as neighbouring Styria was primarily secured by the Austrian State Treaty.

Slovenia thus expects that Austria will take "new measures" based on Austria's international commitments to make sure the minority in both provinces survives and thrives.

The National Council of Carinthian Slovenians (NSKS), one of the major minority organisations in Carinthia, expressed disappointment at not having been invited to talks regarding constitutional changes.

But the organisation nevertheless said the minority got "more than we had" given that initial proposals for constitutional changes made no mention of the minority.

"Hope is alive," but the real test of the constitution will be how it tangibly affects the people.

Minority organisations had originally demanded a clear mention of the minority, a minority ombudsman, with the NSKS subsequently requesting a designated seat in the provincial parliament for a minority representative.

The constitution mentions Slovenia in a provision in a description of Carinthia as being linguistically and culturally diverse. "The province and the municipalities shall have equal concern for German- and Slovenian-speaking inhabitants," it says.


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