In the absence of necessary conditions, ethnic minorities in Hungary cannot properly exercise their language rights, the ombudsman of fundamental rights said on Wednesday.
The ombudsman is therefore calling on the government to amend the situation, his office said in a statement.
Most ethnic minority local governments use Hungarian in their everyday operations despite the constitution and several legal provisions guaranteeing ethnic minorities the right to use their mother tongue when using public services.
In addition to a shortage of language skills, most state bodies, courts and local councils do not have official forms printed in the languages of ethnic minorities, a review carried out by the ombudsman has revealed.
Starting in 2014, several local councils will be obliged to make public announcements in ethnic minority languages as well Hungarian, depending on census data about the local population, it said.
Also, demand for the use of language rights is likely to increase when the law on ethnic minorities is expanded to apply to foreign citizens. Since public administration authorities and local councils lack the financing to prepare for the needed changes, government measures will be required, the ombudsman’s report said.