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Offices for bilingualism to open in Pomurje and Primorska

Lendava/Koper, 11 November - Two offices for bilingualism, in Pomurje in north-east and Primorska in south-west, will soon be established at the initiative of organisations and MPs representing the Hungarian and Italian minorities. Funding will be provided by the government with the help of the Government Office for National Minorities.

The offices are "yet another step towards implementation of an agreement reached between the government and the two minority MPs regarding the use of Hungarian and Italian languages in the bilingual areas," Ferenc Horvath, MP representing the Hungarian minority and the chair of the Pomurje Self-governing National Community, was quoted as saying by the PMSNS.

Horvath believes the two offices will facilitate access to translations from Slovenian to Hungarian and vice versa to public institutions and citizens, which will "remove some language barriers" in culture, economy, tourism and other areas.

The Pomurje office will operate as part of the PMSNS and EUR 64,000 in budget funds will be allocated for its operations. The office's two employees will be in charge of translating specialist literature, decrees, correspondence and documents from Slovenian to Hungarian and vice versa.

The pair will also participate in creating a standardised base of legal terminology intended to facilitate the use of Hungarian, which will be accessible to the entire state and municipal administrations in the bilingual areas.

The office will cooperate with ministries and other public institutions and help other organisations in the bilingual areas with translating, and coordinate Hungarian language courses. It will monitor how the rules on the use of Slovenian and Hungarian in the bilingual areas is being implemented.

The office in Primorska will have the same tasks, only that it will deal with Italian, the PMSNS said.

The head of the Government Office for National Minorities, Stane Baluh, told the STA that the idea for the offices had come due to observations that the rules on bilingualism in areas inhabited by the Hungarian and Italian were not being implemented properly.

The two offices will not be government offices but bodies within the two minorities' organisations and the state will assist them in implementing the bilingualism rules in practice, he said.

The budget money for the offices will be set aside in 2022. The details on their founding are expected to be finalised in a month or two.

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© STA, 2021