HUNGARIAN NATIONAL COMMUNITY
In the 1991 census, 8.000 persons declared themselves as members of the Hungarian National Community and 8.720 persons stated the Hungarian language as their mother tongue. In the 2002 census, 6.243 persons (1.757 persons less or 22 per cent less) declared themselves as being Hungarians and 7.713 persons (1.007 persons less or 11.5 per cent less) declared Hungarian language as their mother tongue. Out of 6.243 persons declaring themselves as Hungarians, 5.212 members reside on the ethnically mixed area in five municipalities in the Prekmurje region (Lendava, Dobrovnik, Hodoš, Šalovci, and Moravske Toplice), which represents 83.5 per cent of all persons who declared themselves as Hungarians in the Republic of Slovenia. 1.031 members of this community live outside the ethnically mixed area, which represents 16.5 per cent of all persons who declared themselves as members of the Hungarian National Community.
The Hungarian National Community living in the Republic of Slovenia represent 0.32 per cent of the total population in the Republic of Slovenia.
Totally different state of the number of members of the Hungarian National Community in the Republic of Slovenia is established in the Analysis on the Situation and Implementation of Special Rights of the Italian and Hungarian National Communities in the Republic of Slovenia in the scope of implementation of legal and other regulations and definition of possible measures for its preservation, adopted by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia on 29 July 2004. According to this Analysis the actual number of members of the Hungarian National Community is considerably larger. On the territory of the Republic of Slovenia live 8.328 members of the Hungarian National Community, which is 3.94 per cent more than in 1991 (8.000 persons). This data was established on the basis of electoral register compiled by the Hungarian National Community itself in the ethnically mixed area for the local election in November 2002, the same year as the census was held.
Ethnically mixed areas in the Republic of Slovenia, where the members of the Hungarian National Community autochthonously reside and where Hungarian language is official language beside Slovenian, are as follows:
• Hodoš/Hodos Municipality with settlements Krplivnik/Kapornak and Hodoš/Hodos,
• Moravske Toplice Municipality with settlements Čikečka vas/Csekefa, Motvarjevci/ Szentlászló, Pordašinci/Kisfalu, Prosenjakovci/Pártosfalva, Središče/Szerdahely,
• Šalovci Municipality with the settlement Domanjševci/Domonkosfa,
• Lendava Municipality with settlements Banuta/Bánuta, Čentiba/Csente, Dolga vas/ Hosszúfalu, Dolgovške gorice/Hosszúfaluhegy, Dolina/Völgyifalu, Dolnji Lakoš/ Alsólakos, Gaberje/Gyertyános, Genterovci/Göntérháza, Gornji Lakoš/Felsölakos, Kamovci/Kámaháza, Kapca/Kapca, Kot/Kót, Lendava/Lendva, Lendavske gorice/ Lendvahegy, Mostje/Hidvég, Petišovci/Petesháza, Pince/Pince, Pince marof/ Pincemajor, Radmožanci/Radamos, and Trimlini/Hármasmalom,
• Dobrovnik Municipality with settlements Dobrovnik/Dobronak and Žitkovci/ Zsitkóc.
Constitutional and Legal position of the Hungarian National Community
• The Basic Constitutional Charter on the Independence and Sovereignty of the Republic of Slovenia (Official Gazette RS, No. 1-4/91I) stipulates that “Italian and Hungarian National Communities and persons thereof living in the Republic of Slovenia are guaranteed all rights recognized by the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia and international agreements.”
• Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia
(Special Rights of the Autochthonous Italian and Hungarian National Communities in Slovenia)
• the right to use national symbols freely;
• in order to preserve its national identity, the right to establish organisations and develop economic, cultural, scientific and research activities, as well as activities in the field of public media and publishing;
• the right to education and schooling in its own language and the right to establish and develop such education and schooling (the geographic areas in which bilingual schools are compulsory is established by law);
• the right to foster relations with its nation of origin and its respective country;
• in order to exercise its rights, the right to establish its own self-governing communities;
• the right to be directly represented in representative bodies of local self-government and in the National Assembly;
• these rights are guaranteed irrespective of the number of members of this community;
• Constitution in Article 64, Paragraph 5, stipulates that “Laws, regulations and other general acts that concern the exercise of the constitutionally provided rights and the position of the National Communities exclusively, may not be adopted without the consent of representatives of these National Communities.” Self-Governing Ethnic Communities Act (Official Gazette RS, No. 65/94) in Article 15, Paragraph 2, further stipulates that “as to matters related to status of the members of National Communities, state bodies are obliged to acquire prior opinion of the self-governing national communities.”
• “The official language in Slovenia is Slovene. In those municipalities where Italian or Hungarian National Communities reside, Italian or Hungarian shall also be official languages.”
• the right to freely express affiliation with his nation or national community.
• the right to use his language and script.
• Self-Governing National Communities Act (Official Gazette RS, No. 65/94)
Article 1 stipulates: “For the implementation of special rights, guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia, for the promotion of their needs and interests, and for organised participation in public matters, members of the Italian and Hungarian National Communities establish, in regions of their autochthonous settlement, self-governing national communities.” This gives further operational basis for implementing the constitutional rights of the Italian and Hungarian National Communities.
• Members of the Hungarian National Community are also guaranteed certain rights that apply outside the ethnically mixed areas (e.g. entry into a special electoral register for the election of a deputy to the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, the right to learn one's native language outside the ethnically mixed area under certain conditions).
• Members of the Hungarian National Community are also represented with one representative in the Council of Radiotelevizija Slovenija. In addition, the Council of Radiotelevizija Slovenija also appoints program councils for minority programs in which two thirds of the members belong to the two National Communities.
• More than 60 sector-specific laws, other legal acts, ordinances and statutes of the municipalities in the ethnically mixed areas, treaties or interstate agreements, as well as international conventions that have been ratified by the Republic of Slovenia further regulate the status of the Hungarian National Community.
Organization of the Hungarian National Community
In accordance with the legal order of the Republic of Slovenia, the Hungarian National Community is organised within the Pomurje Hungarian Self-Governing National Community with its headquarters in Lendava. This is the umbrella organisation of the Hungarian National Community in the Republic of Slovenia, which has 21 members, and communicates with state authorities. This organisation is composed of the following municipality councils: Lendava as the greatest council of the National Community - 11 members, Dobrovnik - 4 members, Moravske Toplice - 3 members, Hodoš - 2 members, and Šalovci - 1 member. In March 2004 an agreement in principle on different participation of so-called Goričko Hungarians in the Council of umbrella organisation was established. With this agreement some tensions should be abolished. According to last information, changes that were agreed on were not verified by decision-making bodies (councils).
Within municipalities, the Hungarian National Community has municipal Hungarian self-governing national communities in the following municipalities: Lendava, Dobrovnik, Moravske Toplice, Šalovci and Hodoš. The council represents the highest form of organisation for each municipal Hungarian self-governing national community in a municipality. These municipal organisations are linked with the umbrella organisation through their delegates, i.e. elected members, and represent a form of political representation at the local level. In addition to universal voting right, members of the Hungarian National Community also have a special voting right – on local and national level. They elect their own representative - deputy to the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia (Article 80, Paragraph 3, of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia).
POMURSKA MADŽARSKA SAMOUPRAVNA NARODNA SKUPNOST -
MURAVIDÉKI MAGYAR ÖNKORMÁNYZATI NEMZETI KÖZÖSSÉG
(POMURJE HUNGARIAN SELF-GOVERNING NATIONAL COMMUNITY)
Glavna ulica - Fő utca 124
SI-9220 LENDAVA – LENDVA
Tel. No.: +386 (02) 575 14 49
Fax No. +386 (02) 575 14 19
President: Ferenc Horváth
Activities in the field of education, culture and information services
The Hungarian National Community has numerous societies and other cultural and educational institutions using the Hungarian language.
Activities in the field of education
Unlike the Italian National Community, which has schools using Italian as the language of instruction, schools in the ethnically mixed areas in which the Hungarian National Community resides must be bilingual by law (education is conducted in both languages, Slovene and Hungarian, for all inhabitants of the area).
According to data for the 2003/2004 school years, a total of 249 children attended the bilingual pre-school institutions in the ethnically mixed area of Pomurje.
In the 2004/2005 school years 942 pupils attended bilingual elementary schools with affiliated schools (Bilingual Elementary School Lendava I, Bilingual Elementary School Lendava II with a special program, Bilingual Elementary School Vlaj Lajoš, Genterovci, Bilingual Elementary School Dobrovnik and Bilingual Elementary School Prosenjakovci).
In 2004 the investment of one of the most up-to-date and topmost equipped elementary schools, the elementary school in Dobrovnik, was concluded – the state contributed through the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and the Ministry of Information Services, together with the municipality of Dobrovnik almost 620,000,000 Slovene tolars.
In the 2004/2005 school years 280 pupils attended the Lendava bilingual secondary school.
In September 2005 a modern Bilingual secondary school centre with high standard sports hall with 400 seats and the surface area of 1.750 square metres was established. Together with this centre also other infrastructure was built: pavements, cycle tracks etc. The Republic of Slovenia entirely financed this project (2.7 billion Slovene tolars). This centre includes grammar school program, program of economics, mechanical-technical program and some professional qualification programs, and after the opening already 313 pupils attended the classes.
Members of the Hungarian National Community can study the Hungarian language at the University of Maribor (Department for the Hungarian Language) and at the University of Ljubljana (lectorship in the Hungarian language) and, on the basis of the bilateral agreement of 1993 between Slovenia and Hungary, at universities in Hungary (about 50 members of the Hungarian National Community study in Hungary every year).
Activities in the field of culture
The Hungarian National Community has over 30 amateur societies and groups (folklore, music groups, choirs, recital and theatre groups) the activities of which, as well as organisational tasks, are carried out by the Institute for the Culture of the Hungarian National Community (this also comprises publishing activity and a writers' group of Hungarian nationality).
A special centre was established within this institute - Centre Bánffy (established on 20 August 2004), which incorporates a small bookshop with only Hungarian literature and newspapers, an Internet café with modern multimedia equipment. Otherwise this centre serves as a place for different performances and gatherings.
Of significant importance in the field of Hungarian culture is also the Cultural Centre Lendava. This is one of the biggest institutions of this kind in Prekmurje. The Hungarian National Community will also be, apart from others, able to use its facilities. The Republic of Slovenia invested approximately 1,5 billion Slovene tolars, 100 millions forints were contributed by the Republic of Hungary.
Activities in the field of information services
The Institute for the Information Activity of the Hungarian National Community based in Lendava publishes the weekly Népújság in the Hungarian language.
The library activity is carried out within the Regional and Study Library in Murska Sobota and a bookshop is open in Lendava selling books in the Hungarian language. Certain municipalities autochthonously settled by the Hungarian National Community (the Goričko Hungarians: Moravske Toplice, Šalovci, Hodoš) are also visited by a mobile library on a regular basis.
The Lendava Library is another independent public institute based in the ethnically mixed area. It has been established by the Lendava and Dobrovnik Municipalities together with the Hungarian Self-governing Community of the Lendava Municipality and the Self-governing Community of the Dobrovnik Municipality (Ordinance on the Establishment of the Public Institute Lendava Library – Könyvtár Lendva, Official Gazette, No. 8/04). The library performs its activities for other municipalities on the basis of signed contracts. The Library is based in the ethnically mixed area and its library activity also extends to members of the Hungarian National Community. It falls in the 3rd group of libraries and covers the municipalities of Lendava, Dobrovnik, Črenšovci, Kobilje, Odranci, Turnišče and Velika Polana. The Lendava Library has 12 affiliated local libraries in this area, 7 in monolingual and 5 in bilingual areas. The Library also provides the expertise and organisation of the library activity intended for the Hungarian National Community. The Library purchases, processes, stores, conserves and provides books and other material in the Hungarian language as well. The Library also collects the material on homeland studies.
Radio and television programs for the Hungarian National Community are produced within the public Radiotelevizija Slovenija, at the Regional Radio and Television Centre Maribor – Hungarian Programs Studio Lendava. There are 13 hours and 15 minutes of radio program daily, including Saturdays and Sundays, while the television program comprises the TV series MOSTOVI-HIDAK (Bridges) that are broadcast by the national television and by the regional TV channel Maribor. 30-minute episodes of the MOSTOVI-HIDAK series are broadcast by the national television four times a week (with an additional rerun of each episode) through most of the year, and three times a week (plus reruns) in the summertime. The 30-minute episodes are also shown four times a week by the Regional Channel Maribor through most of the year, and three times a week in the summertime.
To ensure the operation of this institution falling within the system of RTV Slovenia, there is a certain number of staff members working full time and a certain number working part time, both on a permanent basis (a special fee is collected by the national TV for this purpose). A total of 28 staff members are employed in the Hungarian Programs Lendava Studio in the radio and televisions programs on a full time basis. In addition to those employed full time, there are 20 employees working on a permanent part time basis and 67 working occasionally in the radio and television programs. All together there are 115 workers preparing the radio and television programs for the Hungarian National Community. The programs of the National Communities have been additionally co-financed by the State (Office for Nationalities) in view of the provision of Article 30 of the Radiotelevizija Slovenija Act (Official Gazette, No. 96/05).
In September 2004 a radio and television studio of the Hungarian National Community was completed in Lendava, which was financed by the Radiotelevizija Slovenija and the Office for Nationalities. The investment cost approximately 500,000,000 Slovene tolars.
Institute for the Information Activity of the Hungarian National Community
Magyar Nemzetiségi Trájékoztatási Intézet
Beata Lazar, director
Glavna ulica – Fó utca 124
SI – 9220 Lendava – Lendva
Tel. No.: +386 (02) 577 61 80
Fax No.: +386 (02) 577 61 91
Implementation of international documents
The Republic of Slovenia strives to fulfil obligations arising from international documents and other documents, related to the Hungarian National Community in the Republic of Slovenia.
Act Ratifying the Agreement on Guaranteeing Special Rights to the Slovene Minority living in the Republic of Hungary and the Hungarian National Community in the Republic of Slovenia (ratified in 1993) is important interstate agreement for both the Hungarian National Community living in Slovenia and the Slovenian minority living in Hungary. On the basis of this agreement, signed by both states in 1992, the Commission on the Monitoring of the Agreement on Guaranteeing Special Rights to the Slovene Minority living in the Republic of Hungary and the Hungarian National Community in the Republic of Slovenia meets once a year, defining the implementation of this agreement and providing recommendations to their respective Governments. Last meeting of this Commission was held in Gornji Senik in Hungary on 3 April 2006 (this was 8th meeting already).
The Republic of Slovenia ratified the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities in 1998. As the Framework Convention does not contain definition of national minority and it is up to the Parties to define which ethnic groups are treated as national minorities, at the time of deposit of the instrument of ratification the Republic of Slovenia stated that, in accordance with the Constitution and internal legislation of the Republic of Slovenia, national minorities in the Republic of Slovenia are the autochthonous Italian and Hungarian National Minorities.
The Republic of Slovenia ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages on 19 July 2000. At the time of deposit of the instrument of ratification on 4 October 2000 the Republic of Slovenia stated that the provisions of the Charter would apply from 1 January 2001. At the time of deposit of the instrument of ratification the Republic of Slovenia stated that the Italian and Hungarian languages are considered as regional or minority languages in the territory of the Republic of Slovenia, within the meaning of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.
The Office for Nationalities estimates that the situation of the Hungarian National Community in Slovenia is very good. Legal protection granted to the members of the Hungarian National Community and exercising their rights is beyond European standards.
The Republic of Hungary adopted the Act on Hungarians Living in Neighbouring Countries, entered into force on 1 January 2002, which also affects the Hungarian National Community, living in Slovenia. This Act does not apply to the Hungarians, living in Austria. Act stipulates certain benefits for members of the Hungarian Minority in neighbouring countries. Due to certain consideration from international institutions (Council of Europe, European Union, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) and some neighbouring countries, such as Romania and Slovakia, the Republic of Hungary conformed the Act to European standards and some particularities of the Hungarian Minority in Slovakia and Romania.
The Republic of Slovenia stated, that this Act is legitimate act of the neighbouring country but its implementation should not interfere with the legal order of the Republic of Slovenia and tighten the frameworks and mechanisms provided within the agreements between the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Hungary. The Republic of Slovenia will deal with questions, regarding the application of the Act on Hungarians Living in Neighbouring Countries and its content on the bilateral level in the framework of the Commission on the Monitoring of the Agreement on Guaranteeing Special Rights to the Slovene Minority living in the Republic of Hungary and the Hungarian National Community in the Republic of Slovenia.
Benefits, granted by the Republic of Hungary to the members of the Hungarian National Community and their spouses that are not of Hungarian nationality are based on five different types of identity card of the Republic of Hungary. Referendum on granting Hungarian citizenship to the Hungarians, living outside the Republic of Hungary, which was held in the beginning of December 2004, failed.
The situation of the Slovenes, living in Porabje (Hungary) is incomparable to the situation of the Hungarian National Community, even though the interstate agreement guarantees special rights to the Hungarian National Community in the Republic of Slovenia as well as to the Slovene minority living in the Republic of Hungary. The situation of the Slovenes living in Porabje in the Republic of Hungary is in all aspects incomparably worse than the situation of the Hungarian National Community in the Republic of Slovenia.
Members of the Hungarian National Community positively evaluate the bilateral Agreement on Guaranteeing Special Rights to the Slovene Minority living in the Republic of Hungary and the Hungarian National Community in the Republic of Slovenia.
The Office for Nationalities estimates that in the relations between the Hungarian National Community in the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Slovenia itself there are no open questions that would burden this mutual relations.