Ministers Fajon and Arčon discuss current issues with representatives of Slovenian national minority in Italy
The representatives of the Slovenian national minority in Italy presented the key issues and the state of implementation of their rights, with a focus on seeking an effective mechanism of representation for national minority representatives in Italian representative bodies of local and national authorities. They went on to address issues concerning the Slovenian education system and the public use of the Slovene language in areas settled by the minority, as well as the opportunities for strengthening its economic base.
Minister Fajon gave assurances that Slovenia is closely following all topics and issues of crucial importance for the existence and development of the Slovenian national minority in Italy. "The Slovenian minority in Italy and the Italian community in Slovenia are the engine of cooperation between Slovenia and Italy. Our efforts are aimed at speeding up the process of resolving outstanding issues in the spirit of good neighbourly relations. I will have the opportunity to apprise the Italian side of the expectations of Slovenians in Italy in a few days", explained Minister Fajon, adding that Slovenia will continue its efforts to enhance the open political dialogue with neighbouring Italy, thus paving the way for regular discussion of the widest range of issues affecting the life of the Slovenian minority in Italy.
Minister Matej Arčon welcomed today's meeting with representatives of the Slovenian national minority in Italy. "In my view, it is vital that such preparatory meetings ahead of bilateral meetings with high-level representatives of neighbouring countries become an established practice," the Minister stressed, highlighting that the priorities Slovenia should advocate in bilateral relations with Italy include guaranteed representation of the Slovenian minority in representative bodies, both at the level of the Autonomous Region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia and at the national level, not least in the light of the high level of protection afforded by Slovenia to the autochthonous Italian national community.
Both ministers noted the importance of cross-border cooperation for the Slovenian national minority and the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) 2025 project Nova Gorica – Gorizia GO! under the patronage of the presidents of Slovenia and Italy. Minister Fajon welcomed the establishment of a project office as part of the Slovenian local business association, which will provide professional assistance to Slovenians in Italy when applying for tenders under the ECoC 2025. The office was established on the basis of an agreement between the two umbrella organisations, the Slovenian Cultural and Economic Association and the Council of Slovenian Organisations, and the Slovenian Government Office for Slovenians Abroad, which finances the office.
Minister Fajon went on to welcome steps for enhanced cooperation and regular exchanges between the Slovenian minority in Italy and Italian national community in Slovenia, calling for further synergies to be found between the two through other common content and targeted projects, such as the ECoC 2025. Minister Arčon pointed out that it was with a view to seeking synergies that he had hosted a meeting of the two communities at the Office for Slovenians Abroad in February.
Today's meeting was attended by representatives of the umbrella organisations of the Slovenian minority in Italy, President of the Slovenian Cultural and Economic Association Ksenija Dobrila, President of the Council of Slovenian Organisations Walter Bandelj, Chair of the Parity Committee Marko Jarc, and Regional Councillor Marko Pisani.