The politically sensitive status of Vukovar as a bilingual city takes a new turn.
Vukovar City Council has voted on Monday to adopt amendments to the city statute which do not provide for bilingual signs at official city buildings, institutions, squares and streets of Vukovar. The amendments should bring the city statute in line with the last year’s Constitutional Court decision that the city council must within a year address the issue of bilingualism in the city reports Novi List on August 17, 2015.
Ten councillors of the ruling HDZ-HKS coalition voted for the amendments, together with HDSSB councillor Slavica Jelinić, who provided the crucial vote for the adoption of the amendments. Ten councillors from SDP, SDSS, HNS and SNS voted against the amendments. The majority rejected the amendments to the statute which were proposed by the SDSS councillors. Once the amendments were adopted, councillors from SDP and HNS left the city hall.
The councillors of the ruling coalition defended the amendments to the statute which were proposed by city mayor Ivan Penava (HDZ), while the opposition councillors were unanimous in their opinion that the amendments provide less rights to the Serbian national minority than was provided by the statute adopted in 2009.
The adopted amendments do not provide for bilingual signs on official city buildings, institutions, squares and streets of Vukovar. The city council is obliged to consider in October of each year the achieved level of “understanding, solidarity, tolerance and dialogue among the citizens of Vukovar and then, in accordance with the conclusions, to make a decision about the possibility or the need for expanding the scope of the individual rights of members of the Serbian national minority who live in the city of Vukovar”.
The Constitutional Court has decided on 11 August 2014 that Vukovar City Council must within a year prescribe the individual rights of persons belonging to national minorities to officially use their language and script.