Federalism, Subnational Constitutions, and Minority Rights

By G. Alan Tarr; Robert F. Williams et al. | Go to book overview

4
Austrian Federalism
and the Protection
of Minorities

Anna Gamper

Ethnic minorities in Austria have been granted specific legal protection since the second half of the nineteenth century and have continued to be a political and legal issue after the end of the multination monarchy and both World Wars. The earliest of all relevant1 constitutional provisions in the field of minority protection was Article 19 of the State Basic Law on the General Rights of Citizens.2 Whereas this law, as a whole and in general, is in force today—being even part of Austrian federal constitutional law3—the question whether Article 19 became invalid when the State Treaty of St. Germain-enLaye of 19194 and Art 8 B-VG5 came into force has not been answered unanimously by the Austrian ruling doctrine and jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court.6

In addition to these provisions, Article 7 of the State Treaty of Vienna of 19557 grants specific minority rights to those Austrian nationals who belong to the Slovenian and Croatian minorities in the Länder Carinthia, Burgenland, and Styria. Finally, two Federal Acts determine the

-55-

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