, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 131-133

Das Österreichische Volksgruppenzentrum

Summary

The Austrian Centre for Ethnic Groups (OEVZ) was founded in 1985 as an umbrella organization of the representative associations of all autochthonous national minorities in Austria. There are six national minorities officially recognized by the Austrian government: Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians, Roma, Croats and Slovenes. Each of them has between 15000 up to 50000 members and all of them are exposed to a strong pressure to assimilate. Today there are two main factors that contribute to the decline of national minorities in Austria: a strong policy of assimilation and some organisations supported by party structures being hostile to minority issues. The prior requests of the OEVZ comprise the following: Particularly the minority protection clauses of §7 of the 1955 State Treaty of Vienna have to be fully implemented. The official language provisions and the topography ordinances for Carinthia and Burgenland have to be changed according to the decisions of the Constitutional Court. Education and media in minority languages have to be specifically supported. Especially the programmes aiming at the improvement of linguistic competences in pre-school and school ages and the private minority schools have to be promoted increasingly. Minority school laws for Vienna and Styria following the current minority school laws should be passed by the federal legislator after a hearing of the national minorities concerned.