Fajon meets officials of Slovenian minority in Austria
Ljubljana, 4 November - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon met on Friday representatives of the Slovenian minority in Austria. Their talks were devoted to the importance of efforts to promote and strengthen the use of the Slovenian language in Austria.
Fajon hosted Susanne Weitlaner, the president of the Article 7 Cultural Association and the chair of the advisory panel for the Slovenian minority in the Austrian chancellor's office, Manuel Jug, the president of the Association of Slovenian Organisations, Bernard Sadovnik, the president of the Community of Carinthian Slovenians, Valentin Inzko, the president of the National Council of Carinthian Slovenians, and Gabriel Hribar, the leader of United List (EL), the political party of Carinthian Slovenians.
Fajon stressed the importance of stepping up the use of the Slovenian language ranging from pre-school to universities.
"The rights of the Slovenian ethnic minority in Austria are enshrined in Article 7 of the Austrian State Treaty, but we consider that the article currently remains only partially implemented," the minister said.
Sadovnik agreed with her, saying: "It is imperative that Austria sorts this out as soon as possible, not only for the Slovenian minority but for all minorities in the country."
He noted that Article 7 was not implemented entirely, particularly not in offices and courts where there services in the Slovenian language are not available.
Currently, Slovenians citizens are able to request to use Slovenian in courts in Austria, but that is not yet the case for the members of the Slovenian minority, Sadovnik said as he called for an end to border checks on the Slovenian-Austrian border as soon as possible.
The talks were held after Fajon's meeting with the representatives of the Slovenian minority in Italy. Fajon announced she will soon travel to Rome to meet Antonio Tajani, the new Italian foreign minister, and Justice Minister Dominika Švarc Pipan is expected to visit Vienna shortly to hold talks with her Austrian counterpart Alma Zadić.