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The special protective legislation for the Slovene minority in Italy was the subject of high-level talks between Italy and Slovenia. The Italian legislation is aimed at the 80,000-strong minority which lives along the border between the two states.
The talks, which were held in the Slovene capital, Ljubjana, involved the President of the Italian Senate, Nicola Mancino, Slovene President Kucan and Prime Minister Bajuk. The Slovene Foreign Minister was also present, as were other officials.
The Slovene minority in Italy has been has been awaiting the legislation for more than fifty years, as the right to protection is already expressed in the Italian Constitution adopted in 1948. Campaigning began in earnest in the 1970s.
The specific protective legislation deals with the specific situation of the Slovene minority in Italy. It is separate to the general minority legislation approved last year by the Italian Parliament, which simply recognises the twelve existing indigenous minorities in Italy but does not deal with cross-border issues or specific political, educational and cultural needs experienced by individual minorities such as the Slovenes.