Upper chamber president and Carinthia governor argue against border controls

Klagenfurt, 27 June - National Council President Marko Lotrič and Carinthia Governor Peter Kaiser agreed during a formal visit in Klagenfurt on Tuesday that Austria's insisting on border controls on the border with Slovenia was unwarranted and harmful. The talks meanwhile focused on the Slovenian community in this Austrian region.

National Council President Marko Lotrič.
Photo: Bor Slana/STA

The head of the upper chamber of parliament met with Kaiser after being briefed by representatives of the Slovenian minority, the main topics including the financing of bilingual pre-school education and Austria's failure to properly honour bilingual judiciary provisions.

Minority representatives had stressed that the use of Slovenian in nurseries and kindergartens is crucial not only for the preservation of the language, but also for its return to the Slovenian homes in Carinthia.

As for the judiciary, it was highlighted that access to bilingual judiciary is provided in only a third of the area that is home to the Slovenian minority, although Austria's state treaty stipulates it should be guaranteed fully.

Lotrič and Kaiser also discussed the temporary border controls that Austria has been applying continuously on the border with Slovenia for eight years, and the problems that this entails. They agreed the controls were completely unnecessary and pointed to the negative consequences for citizens and businesses in both countries.

"We are not only linked to Austrian Carinthia by our common history and national minority, but also by numerous successful business ties between companies in both countries, which are based on good neighbourly relations. There is no reason for border controls," said Lotrič.

The purpose of the visit was also to obtain information on the functioning of the provinces in Austria and their competences. While Slovenia has so far failed to establish such a regional system, it was explored what advantages this would bring to cross-border cooperation, the National Council said.

© STA, 2023