At its December 20, 2023 meeting, the Slovak government appointed Ákos Horony as the new Government Commissioner for Minorities. Hailing from Dunajská Streda (Dunaszerdahely), Horony sees his appointment as a significant challenge and aims to build upon the work initiated by his predecessor, László Bukovszky. His focus includes safeguarding language rights and addressing crucial tasks such as a bill on minorities and the issue of financial support for local governments.
Horony has disagreed with a recent proposal to merge the State Arts Fund and the Minority Cultural Fund, and has already written to Minister of Culture Martina Šimkovičová, seeking modifications aligned with the government’s official platform. The government has previously declared it will continue its support of national minorities based on the proven methods applied between 2016 and 2020, which is when the Minority Cultural Fund was established. Horony insists on including minority representatives in preparing the law’s amendment and advocates that they be involved in subsidy decision-making.
On January 3, 2024, opponents of the merger submitted a petition of 2,500 signatures. Róbert Špoták, director of the State Art Fund, highlighted the necessity of participating in the amendment process.
The Ministry of Culture sought to clarify the intent behind the merger as one of merely increasing efficiency, reducing bureaucracy, and expanding eligibility for support. The Ministry has stated public dialogue and consultations with stakeholders will precede any final decision. Stay tuned.