Ministers’ Deputies
Notes on the Agenda

CM/Notes/1068/10.2 13 October 20091
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1068 Meeting, 21 October 2009
10 Legal questions


10.2 European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages –

Second report of the Committee of Experts in respect of the Slovak Republic

Reference document
CM(2009)133

Item prepared by the GR-J of 6 October 2009

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Action

To adopt the draft decisions below.

At its meeting of 6 October 2009, the Rapporteur Group on Legal Co-operation (GR-J) examined this item and agreed to transmit the draft decisions below to the Deputies for adoption.

Context

1. The Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages was set up in accordance with Article 17 of the Charter. Its main function is to evaluate, on a three-yearly basis, the application of the Charter by States Parties. Its evaluation is based on periodical reports and other information submitted by the States Parties, information received from legally established bodies and associations in the States Parties and information the Committee gathers during its “on-the-spot” visits to the countries. The Committee then prepares its own report, assessing the countries’ compliance with their undertakings, with a view to preparing recommendations which could be adopted by the Committee of Ministers.

2. In accordance with Article 16, paragraphs 3 and 4 of the Charter2, the Committee of Experts has submitted to the Committee of Ministers its second report on the implementation of the Charter in the Slovak Republic. The report (document CM(2009)133) contains proposals for recommendations of the Committee of Ministers to the Slovak authorities. The government concerned has had the opportunity to submit its observations on the report, in accordance with Article 16, paragraph 3 of the Charter (see Appendix II to the report (document CM(2009)133).

3. As regards the layout of the report, Chapter I gives information on the work of the Committee of Experts, the language situation in the country concerned and the particular issues which arose in examination of the situation. Chapter II presents the Committee of Experts' conclusions on the reaction of the country concerned to the previous recommendations of the Committee of Ministers. Chapter III is a detailed assessment of compliance with Charter obligations. Chapter IV sums up the Committee of Experts’ findings and puts forward recommendations that the Committee of Ministers could make to the country concerned.

Preparation and adoption of the Committee of Ministers’ recommendations

4. Under the Charter, the Committee of Ministers is required to decide what action to take on the proposed recommendations put forward by the Committee of Experts regarding the Slovak Republic (see Appendix to these Notes).

Procedure

5. The Deputies agreed on the procedure for examining the reports at their 762nd meeting (5 September 2001, item 10.4). The Deputies are reminded that, at the same meeting, they authorised automatic declassification of each report after it had been examined by the Committee of Ministers, unless the state concerned objected to its publication.

6. Furthermore, it is recalled that the Deputies agreed, at their 935th meeting (13 July 2005, item 1.4, decision 2) that reports on the implementation of the Charter be given preliminary examination in their Rapporteur Group on Legal Co-operation (GR-J). The report on the Slovak Republic was examined by the GR-J on 6 October 2009. At the close of the debate, it appeared that an amendment proposed by the delegation of Hungary was not supported by any other delegation. The Group therefore agreed to transmit the draft decisions below to the Deputies for adoption.

Background information concerning the Slovak Republic

7. The Slovak Republic signed the Charter on 20 February 2001 and ratified it on 5 September 2001. The Charter entered into force in the Slovak Republic on 1 January 2002.

Financing assured: YES

DRAFT DECISIONS

1068 meeting – 21 October 2009

Item 10.2

European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages –
Second report of the Committee of Experts in respect of the Slovak Republic

(CM(2009)133)

Decisions

The Deputies

1. took note of the second report of the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in respect of the Slovak Republic, as it appears in document CM(2009)133;

2. adopted Recommendation CM/RecChL(2009)… on the application of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages by the Slovak Republic, as it appears at Appendix … to the present volume of Decisions <see Appendix to these Notes> and agreed to forward it to the Slovak authorities.

1068 meeting – 21 October 2009

Appendix ..

Draft Recommendation CM/RecChL(2009)...
of the Committee of Ministers
on the application of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages by the Slovak Republic

(adopted by the Committee of Ministers on … … 2009
at the … meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)
 

The Committee of Ministers,

In accordance with Article 16 of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages;

Having regard to the declarations submitted by the Slovak Republic on 9 April 2001;

Having taken note of the evaluation made by the Committee of Experts on the Charter with respect to the application of the Charter by the Slovak Republic;

Having taken note of the comments made by the Slovak authorities on the contents of the Committee of Experts' report;

Bearing in mind that this evaluation is based on information submitted by the Slovak Republic in its national report, supplementary information provided by the Slovak authorities, information submitted by bodies and associations legally established in the Slovak Republic and information obtained by the Committee of Experts during its on-the-spot visit;

Recommends that the authorities of the Slovak Republic take account of all the observations and recommendations of the Committee of Experts and, as a matter of priority:

1. review the requirement that minority language speakers should represent at least 20% of the municipal population for the undertakings in the field of administration to be operational;

2. provide for the teaching of all minority languages at all appropriate levels and inform parents about its availability;

3. improve teacher-training and set up a body in charge of monitoring the measures taken and progress achieved;

4. improve the provision of public sector television and radio in all minority languages and facilitate the broadcasting of private radio and television in minority languages by lifting the restrictive requirements of the respective legislation;

5. facilitate the creation of newspapers in minority languages;

6. continue measures to abolish the practice of unjustified enrolment of Roma children in schools for children with special needs and start to introduce Romani-language education for Roma children on a large scale.

Note 1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue. In accordance with the Deputies’ decision (CM/Del/Dec(2001)765/10.4), it will be declassified after it has been examined by the Committee of Ministers.
Note 2 “ 3. On the basis of the reports specified in paragraph 1 and the information mentioned in paragraph 2, the Committee of Experts shall prepare a report for the Committee of Ministers. This report shall be accompanied by the comments that the Parties have been requested to make and may be made public by the Committee of Ministers.
Note 4. The report specified in paragraph 3 shall contain in particular the proposals of the Committee of Experts to the Committee of Ministers for the preparation of such recommendations of the latter body to one or more of the Parties as may be required.”


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