ZAGREB, October 19, 2019 – The Croat minority in Montenegro contributed significantly to the country’s accession to NATO and has been contributing to its accession to the European Union, and the Montenegrin state has secured, primarily through its election laws, a privileged status for the Croat minority, Montenegro’s Human and Minority Rights Minister Mehmed Zenka has told Hina.
“The Croat minority has contributed very much to all positive processes in Montenegro, notably integration processes. Also, a positive step was made through election laws facilitating the representation of the Croat minority in the Montenegrin parliament. Montenegro and Croatia have a joint intergovernmental committee monitoring the status of Croats in Montenegro and the status of Montenegrins in Croatia. We would like to have such cooperation with all countries in the region,” Zenka said.
Croats are the smallest constitutionally recognised community in Montenegro. According to the last census, in 2011, they accounted for 1% of Montenegro’s population. Owing to their privileged status, they have a guaranteed seat in the Montenegrin parliament.
Zenka also underlined the impact of the Croat community on Montenegro’s cultural and historical heritage, “of which Montenegro is proud”.
“We must not forget the history of navigation of Montenegrin Croats. They brought values they gathered all over the world to the Bay of Boka and Montenegro. That’s why I say that even if there were not a single Croat in Montenegro, we must celebrate Croats because of the cultural and historical heritage which they brought and which Montenegro has inherited,” the minister said, noting that one of such values was the Boka Navy, which this year marks its 1210th anniversary.
The Montenegrin government expects the Boka Navy to be inscribed on UNESCO’s list of non-tangible cultural heritage by the end of this year.
“I believe that Montenegro and Croatia will find a common language and make sure together (the Boka Navy) is inscribed on UNESCO’s list,” Zenka said.
Speaking of the status of the Montenegrin minority in Croatia, Zenka said that he received “positive signals” from societies gathering Montenegrins but that there was room for the improvement of their status as well as for the improvement of the status of Montenegro’s Croats.
More news about relations between Croatia and Montenegro can be found in the Politics section.