Croatia Provides Support to Croats in Vojvodina

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, April 22, 2018 – An agreement was signed in Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia, on Saturday between the Croatian government and the Croatian National Council (HNV) in Serbia on a donation for the “Hrvatska Riječ” (Croatian Word) publishing company which will be used to buy land in Subotica and will enable the combining of premises for the HNV and the Institute for Culture of Vojvodina Croats.

The agreement was signed by state-secretary in the Office for Croats Abroad Zvonko Milas and HNV president Slaven Bačić, during a regular annual meeting between Croatian officials and the Croat minority organisations in Vojvodina, which is a province within Serbia.

Milas, who was accompanied by Croatia’s Ambassador in Serbia Gordan Bakota and Consul-General Velimir Pleša, said that the Croatian government would continue to take heed of Croatian community’s interests and needs and underscored that that was one of the government’s priorities in bilateral Serbian-Croatian relations.

Today’s meeting came in the wake of a recent incident caused by lawmaker Vojislav Šešelj in Serbia’s parliament which made a Croatian parliamentary delegation cut short their visit to Belgrade. Furthermore, Šešelj, who is Serbian Radical Party leader, has been recently given ten years prison sentence for the persecution and deportation of Vojvodina Croats by making a hate-mongering speech in Hrtkovci on 6 May 1992, according to a ruling handed down by the Appeals Chamber of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), the successor to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). However, upon the delivery of the verdict, Šešelj continued making threats against ethnic Croats.

“We expect Serbia to clearly and unambiguously condemn the incident and to distance itself from threats… Croats in Serbia should know that Croatia and the Croatian government will work in the interest of Croats and the Croatian community,” Milas said and underscored that incidents of that nature “must not be overlooked and kept quiet about.” “As a member of NATO and the EU, Croatia is supposed to take care of its citizens and of Croats in Serbia too, and we will do everything to improve their status,” added Milas.

He said that, despite some setbacks, the Croatia-Serbia negotiations are on the right track to make sure that the ethnic Croats will be entitled to have guaranteed seats for their representatives in Serbia’s parliament and public and state institutions.

Milas informed the event that the University of Zagreb had secured a special quota of 217 places for students coming from Croat minority communities. He promised that Croatia would continue to support the Croat minority to preserve its identity, culture and tradition and help in exercising minority rights, and that 1.1 million kuna had been set aside from the state budget for that purpose, which is a 10% increase compared to 2016.

Tomislav Žigmanov, the Croat member of Serbia’s parliament, underscored that “help doesn’t always have to be financial” and that Croatian cultural associations prepare about 400 events each year and publish about 30 publications in Serbia. He added that the Croat community expects that the “state in which we pay taxes should be a little more generous and have a more positive and pro-active stance,” and accepts initiatives proposed by the ethnic Croat minority.

Croatia’s delegation also visited the village of Hrtkovci, where they encouraged the local community to stand firm in times of challenges and tensions that are aroused with memories of the 1990s and the threats and deportation of the Croat population from that town and other places in Vojvodina.


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment