On Friday, the coalition finally agreed on a compromise concerning the law on official use of minority languages in communities. Now any municipality where 15% of the population are classed as an ethnic minority will have to offer the possibility for them to communicate in their native language.
Initially, coalition party Most-Hid was demanding that the current 20% level be cut to 10%, but as is often the case with the coalition, a compromise had to be made. The Christian democrats KDH are still not happy about the new proposal, though.
KDH has a problem with the fact that minorities in those territories that fall into the 15% threshold could also use their language in the security forces. The latest draft has already been submitted to interdepartmental review, with the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defence to provide their standpoints, and so the Ministry of Interior could hold things up as it is led by minister Daniel Lipsic from KDH.
Most-Hid is well aware that it will have to work intensively on convincing other MPs about the new proposal, but it feels that the new compromise deals with the issue of minority language usage in a comprehensive way.
The new 15% threshold, if it makes it though parliament, will affect not just various Hungarian minority communities throughout Slovakia, but also those who speak German, Roma and Ruthenian. The proponent of the original proposal, Rudolf Chmel from Most-Hid, feels that lowering the threshold caters also for these smaller ethnic minorities.
Another flexible point is that if a local employee of some public office agrees, a minority language can be used also in those municipalities that are below the 15% threshold.