The Slovenian Constitution recognises three minorities: Hungarian (6 243-0.32%), Italian (2 258-0.11%), and Roma (3 246-0.17%). There are also “new minorities” – namely groups from former Yugoslavia – which do not have the status of official minority, but enjoy their cultural rights as citizens: Croats (35 632-1.81%), Serbs (38 964-1.98%), Bosnians (21 542-1.10%), Macedonians (3 972-0.20%), Albanians (6 186-0.13%) and Montenegrins (2 667-0.14%), who migrated when the war broke out in the ex-Yugoslavia or were already established in Slovenia when the country declared its independence in 1991. This data on the “new minorities” was taken from the 2001 census. More factual estimates indicate that they actually represent an even larger percentage, from 7% to 9% of the whole population. The legal basis for their rights is Article 61 of the Constitution, which states that each person shall be entitled to freely identify with his / her national grouping or ethnic community, to foster and give expression to his / her culture and to use his / her own language and scripts. The legal basis for the policy is also found in the Act on Enforcing Public Interest in the Field of Culture (2002) (Article 65), which defines that the state can finance programmes intended for the “cultural integration of minorities and immigrants” and “the needs of blind, deaf and other groups of the population with special needs”. In 2007 the German speaking community received its recognition on the basis of a bilateral agreement on Culture, Education and Science between Slovenia and Austria. Traditional autochthonous minorities, Hungarians and Italians, enjoy collective rights (bilingual education and administration, parliamentary representation, etc.), laid out in Article 64 of the Constitution. The Roma minority is catered for by a separate Article, which indicates that the “status and special rights of the Romany community living in Slovenia shall be regulated by law” (Constitution of Slovenia, Article 65). In 2007 this Law was finally adopted. The Roma Community Act (2007) defines the scope of special rights of the Roma Community, the jurisdiction of state authorities and the local community authorities in exercising those rights, and the organisation of the Roma community in order to implement their rights and obligations as set out by the Act. The Self-Governing Ethnic Communities Act, defining the special rights of the Italian and Hungarian minorities, was adopted in 1994, while the Romany communities have their own town councillors in the municipalities where they live (19 of 210 municipalities).
The Ministry of Culture has been developing its model on the protection of cultural rights of all minorities as one of the main challenges after the dissolution of ex-Yugoslavia was how to extend cultural policy measures to so called “new minorities” composed of citizens that came to Slovenia during the Yugoslav period. The model is a result of the recognition that an active intervention on the part of the government in complex social situations is necessary to facilitate positive intercultural and interethnic relationships. It is based on preferential treatment of minorities through special public tenders and on integration in regular public calls. The model also includes constant evaluation and improvements to achieve equity for participation in cultural life. According to the summary of the National Programme for Culture 2014-2017, an additional challenge is the area of the protection of cultural rights as human rights, in particular the human rights of minorities and vulnerable groups; the question is how to establish conditions for wider social integration and demarginalisation in a context of a rich, good-quality cultural life for everyone living on the territory of Slovenia. The goals are as follows: to ensure a higher level of protection of cultural rights within the framework of human rights protection, a higher degree of cultural integration of minorities at the territorial level and within specific disciplines, and to encourage the cultural activities of members of groups that are vulnerable in multiple ways.
From 2010, the funding of the cultural activities of “new minorities” was delegated to the Public Fund for Cultural Activities as it has professional infrastructure in support of these activities all around the country (see chapter 6.4). In its first year, the fund allocated 223 600 00 EUR, that is 15 000 EUR more than the year before, but the number of beneficiaries almost doubled which is an important change that should be observed. The subsidies were allocated to:
- organisation of cultural events and touring of cultural groups and artists;
- preparation of seminars, workshops, lectures, summer camps;
- counselling, supporting, informing related to the field of cultural activities; and
- publishing of periodicals and other publications.
The Ministry kept funding for the official minorities, Hungarian and Italian and the Roma people. In terms of funding in 2010, 754 820 EUR was dedicated from the national cultural budget to the Hungarian and Italian Minorities and 87 583 EUR to the Roma People. Additionally, the Ministry started to develop more intensive programmes for blind and deaf people (see chapter 2.7).
Table 4: Broadcasting for minority groups in Slovenia, 2006
|Broadcaster||Minority group||Name of owner or controlling organisation||Founding year||Circulation|
|Italian Television Koper||Italian||RTV Slovenia||1971||9.5 hours / day|
|Radio Capodistria||Italian||RTV Slovenia||1949||24 hours / day|
|Hungarian Lendava Studio Programme||Hungarian||RTV Slovenia||1978||30 minutes / 4 times per week|
|Muravideki Magyar Radio||Hungarian||RTV Slovenia||1958||13 hour and 15 minutes / day|
|Studio D (Novo mesto)||Roma||Private company Krater||2002||30 minutes per week-|
|Romskih 60 on Radio Murski Val||Roma||Private company Podjetje za informiranje||2002||60 minutes per week|
Source: RTV and private broadcasters.
By the end of 2007, Roma people got their own transmission on public broadcasting station – channel SLO1.
Citizenship participation is guaranteed on the highest political level for both official minorities – each has its representative in the Parliament, with the same responsibilities as other deputies. In accordance with Self-Governing Ethnic Communities, Article 3 (Official Gazette RS, No. 65/94), the minorities’ representatives:
- give consent to matters concerning the protection of special rights of ethnic communities. The decisions are made together with bodies of self-governing local communities; and
- discuss and study matters concerning the status of ethnic communities, they adopt standpoints and they submit proposals and initiatives to competent bodies.
See also chapter 2.5.1.