Minister Arčon happy about support for Slovenian minority in Styria

Graz/Laafeld, 6 June - Minister for Slovenians Abroad Matej Arčon visited the Austrian province of Styria on Monday for talks with Governor Christopher Drexler with whom he discussed lifting border controls on the Austria-Slovenia border and setting up a cultural hub for the Slovenian minority in Styria. He also met with representatives of the Slovenian minority.

Minister for Slovenians Abroad Matej Arčon.
Photo: Bor Slana/STA
File photo

Arčon said he was glad the province and the local community have shown support for the Slovenian community there.

Meeting with Drexler, he called for the border controls on the Austrian-Slovenian border to be lifted. He feels that the checks are hindering economic cooperation between the countries and affecting the Slovenian minority in Austria. Drexler said he is in favour of the lift but that the Austrian federal government is adamant about keeping the border checks active.

The pair agreed that Slovenia and Austria have a good relationship and that a hub for the Slovenian minority be set up in Graz. They also touched on the Slovenian-Austrian joint committee, which will continue its work after it was put on halt during the pandemic, and the Slovenian reading room at the Styrian State Library in Graz.

On the sidelines of the visit, the minister met with representatives of the Slovenian community in Styria and the Bad Radkersburg mayor at the Pavelhaus in the border town of Laafeld.

Bad Radkersburg Mayor Karl Lautner highlighted the importance of cooperation on both sides of the border, especially as part of the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation and Arčon noted how crucial it was for minority organizations to be active.

He pointed out the Article 7 Cultural Society for Austrian Styria, whose name references the article in the Austrian State Treaty that commits Austria to protecting its minorities, as an example of best practice.

© STA, 2023