Slovenian minority mentioned in Carinthia's constitution
Ljubljana, 5 December - As the Austrian province of Carinthia reformed its constitution in June, the Slovenian minority got a mention in the document for the first time despite having lived there for centuries.
Article 5 of the new constitution says that German is the language of the province, while Carinthia recognises linguistic and cultural diversity as reflected through the Slovenian minority. This was welcomed by both the minority and the Slovenian government as an important symbolic step forward in safeguarding minority rights and in recognising the historical presence of Slovenians in Carinthia.
Nevertheless, it was a compromise following a campaign in which minority and Slovenian government officials had advocated a solution to have Slovenian explicitly set down as an official language in the province. Still, the solution is regarded as mostly positive since comments to Article 5 of the provincial constitution invokes Article 7 of the Austrian State Treaty, under which Austria is obliged to guarantee minority rights.
Minority representatives said this was the first time that the province voluntarily recognised the essence of the Austrian federal constitution in terms of minority rights. Carinthia reformed its constitution to change the manner in which the provincial government is formed.