20th anniversary of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
Ljubljana, 1 March 2018 – The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages entered into force on this day, twenty years ago. This Council of Europe Convention is aimed at protecting and promoting minority languages, which are part of the European cultural heritage. The Charter was adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 25 June 1992, and took effect on 1 March 1998. To date, it has been ratified by 25 countries.
The Charter is the first legally relevant step of the Council of Europe towards preserving European linguistic diversity. Its basic goal is to protect and promote less widely used languages that may not be dialects or languages of immigrants. The Charter lists a number of measures that may be applied by the states to facilitate and promote minority or regional languages in various areas of public life: education, the courts, administrative procedures, media, culture, the economy and social life.
The Charter takes into account the fact that minority or regional languages differ in their status and that measures are applied in different social, political and economic circumstances. Therefore, the Charter enables the Parties to select adequate measures tailored to the needs of a certain language.
Slovenia ratified the Charter on 4 October 2000, and it entered into force in Slovenia on 1 January 2001. In a written statement accompanying ratification, Slovenia declared its recognition of Italian and Hungarian as regional or minority languages on its territory, noting that the provisions of the Charter will also be applied, as appropriate, to the Romani language.
To date, Slovenia has submitted four reports to the committee of experts monitoring the implementation of the Charter, with the fifth report to be drafted this year.