Rudolf Chmel should be satisfied (c) The Daily

Minority languages law could cause coalition rift

Rudolf Chmel will push for the law to be adopted by July 2011 (c) John Boyd
Rudolf Chmel will push for the law to be adopted by July 2011 (c) John Boyd

Deputy PM Rudolf Chmel is leading his Most­-Hid party’s campaign to revise the Act on the Use of Minority Languages.

One of the main points they are pushing for is to reduce the threshold for allowing minority languages to be used in official communication from 20% at present to just 10%. This means that any municipality with a minority population of 10% or more will accept the use of the minority language in official contact.

A nice gesture, but the practicalities are complicated as it would mean bilingual (or trilingual) signs would have to be put up in over 200 municipalities. Another aspect concerns fines of up to EUR 2,500 if a public institution, municipality or company fails to provide information to minorities in their respective minority language.

At a press conference yesterday, Rudolf Chmel said that this would open up the door for German, Roma and Ruthenian minorities to have their languages used as well, in addition to the more obvious Hungarian minority.

The proposed draft of the bill can be found on the website of the Most-Hid party, with party chairman Bela Bugar saying that the aim is to implement the European Charter on Minority Languages. The revision sets out rules for the use of minority languages in official communication, in the health sector and culture.

The amendment has little chance of making it through parliament, though, as coalition partner KDH and the two opposition parties are against it.

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