Hungary has called on Slovakia to recind new legislation which will make the use of Hungarian within the Slovakian public services punishable by a fine of up to 5000 euros. The legislation is due to come into force on 1st September.
Ethnic Hungarians make up 10% of Slovakia’s population, and the move follows accusations of state-fuelled discrimination against them. Slovakian premier Robert Fico rebuffed critisim however saying that Slovakia’s government wiould not be “pushed around and blackmailed by the Hungarian Parliament”. Meawhile in Brussels Hungarian lawyer and MEP Adam Kosa (who is profoundly deaf and uses sign language) spoke out in defence of linguistic freedom, saying that everyone should have the right to use their own language – even sign language for deaf people. His comments were warmly received by his fellow MEPs.