Ultimately, serious developments in Austrian Higher Education policies are taking place: According to a policy paper called “Zukunft Hochschule” (The Future of Higher Education Institutions) written by the Austrian ministry of science, research and economy, the field of Slavonic Studies in Austria is awaiting major reforms: The published paper suggests the abolition of Slovenian Language Studies at the University of Vienna and further cuts to Slovenian Studies on a national level.
This would be a significant incision on Austrian minority rights. Given the challenging history of the Slovenian minority in Austria, ESU is especially concerned about those developments. Financial and organizational restrictions can never be used as an argument against the constitutional rights of minorities. The right to learn, to study and to teach their mother tongue is a crucial part of the Carinthian Slovenian identity. This right is now in need of firm protection. Safe financing of higher education opportunities for Austrian minorities is a key element in the correct and fair implementation of European minority rights. European diversity is not a hollow phrase, but a political ideal and Carinthian Slovenians are in demand for strong support.
ESU, SSU and ÖH call the Austrian minister and the rectorate of the University of Vienna to rethink their approach to the constitutional rights of Carinthian Slovenians in Austria, especially connected with higher education policy.