Ministry acting on driving licence issue affecting minority in Italy

Ljubljana, 21 April - The Foreign Ministry has called on the Italian government on several occasions to convene a meeting of a body dealing with minority issues after ethnic Slovenians have been required to pay extra to have their names written correctly in driving licences. However, the meeting has not been called.

Trieste, Italy
Ethic Slovenians face problems when extending their driving licence in Trieste (pictured).
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA
File photo

The ministry said this in response to a question from ruling coalition MPs who noted that members of the Slovenian ethnic minority in Italy have to pay extra to have their name written with č, š, ž - the three Slovenian letters the Italian alphabet does not have - when extending their driving licence.

The three Freedom Movement MPs asked Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon how she plans to act to stop such injustice being done to minority members.

The ministry replied that, through its diplomatic and consular missions, it "closely monitors the situation and the exercise of the rights of the Slovenian community arising from Italy's obligations under international law and its national legislation".

The ministry has repeatedly called on the Italian authorities to convene a meeting of a body that gives Slovenian minority members direct access to the Italian government as soon as possible, but the body has not yet met under the current Italian government.

Fajon has also specifically drawn the attention of her Italian counterpart, Antonio Tajani, to this issue during his visit to Ljubljana on 17 March.

The body, which falls under the remit of the Italian Ministry of Home Affairs, allows Slovenian minority members to discuss all issues as they arise with government members directly, including issues such as the Slovenian lettering in driving licences.

The correct spelling of names is enshrined in Italian legislation, the ministry pointed out. "The problem that has arisen with the spelling of the Slovenian letters in the extension of driving licences is part of a series of technical and administrative inconsistencies on the part of the relevant Italian authorities," the ministry said.

"The flaws occurred in the issuance of certain types of identity documents in the processes of digitisation in the public administration," the ministry explained, promising to continue to draw Italy's attention to the unacceptability of such errors.

© STA, 2023