U.S. English Foundation Research

Language Research

7. International treaties: Did the country ratify any international treaty dealing with the protection of minorities?

European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages signed on November 11, 1992. Austria has announced the creation of a new law aimed to provide itself with the legal devices necessary for the ratification of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. The new law will be discussed in the National Assembly in order to be approved before January 1, 2001.

Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities signed on February 1, 1995, ratified on March 31, 1998 and came enacted on July 1, 1998.

Updated (January 2001)


In May 2001, the Austrian Parliament unanimously approved the ratification of the European Charter for regional or Minority Languages. The provisions guarantee protection and prohibit discrimination the Slovene minority in Carinthia as well as Croatian and Hungarian minorities in Burgenland. The document also grants specific rights to the Viennese Czechs and Slovaks as well as the Roma in Burgenland. Requests by the opposition Socialists (SPÖ) and the Green party to extend protection for the Roma and to the Croatian minority in Vienna were rejected even though there are between 10,000-15,000 Croatians living in Vienna, which is nearly one quarter of the Croatian population in Austria.