Minister meets Slovenians in Croatia, notes importance of learning Slovenian
Rijeka, 27 June - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Matej Arčon visited Rijeka on Monday for his first official visit to the Slovenian community in Croatia. Arčon revealed the plans of the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad to outline clear goals and ways how to reach them. One of the objectives will be promoting the Slovenian language and culture in Croatia.
Arčon met with community representatives at the head office of the Bazovica Rijeka Slovenian association.
"Me and my team wish that the Slovenian community in Croatia be heard, first and foremost," the minister said after the meeting. He stressed that the Office wanted to be proactive in setting clear goals for the next four years together with members of the community.
"We would like to set up a small operational authority active at all levels, including in various bodies at local or regional level, and at the same time place great emphasis on learning the Slovenian language and cultivating Slovenian culture in Croatia [...]," said the minister, adding that his office would also like to be involved in the European Capital of Culture 2025 project, which will take place in Italy's Gorizia and Slovenia's Nova Gorica, his home town.
Operational meetings will start right after summer and will take place every month, the minister said.
The representatives of the community welcomed the minister's eagerness to cooperate with Slovenians in Slovenia's neighbouring countries so soon after taking office, the Office said.
They highlighted problems in providing Slovenian language classes, the need for inclusion of youth in the activities of the community's associations, their desire for greater political representation, as well as hopes for greater cooperation within the community.
They also noted the problem of the demographic decline in the number of members of the community, the extent of which can be fully assessed once findings of Croatia's population census, carried out last year, are announced.