Croatian National Council president Jasna Vojnić, the director of the Vojvodina Croats Culture Institute, Tomislav Žigmanov, and the director of the Hrvatska Riječ publisher, Ladislav Suknović were received by Sea, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butković and local officials.
Žigmanov said they came to talk about the challenges awaiting them this year and that the biggest one would be a population census in October.
He is also the president of the Democratic Alliance of Croats in Vojvodina, which won a seat in the Serbian parliament in a recent election.
Asked if there was a possibility of his entering the Serbian government and what that would mean for Croats, Žigmanov said they were willing to talk about the new government’s political and overall profile.
We wish to participate in policies which will lead Serbia to European integration, develop democracy in Serbia, strengthen the rule of law and the work of independent institutions, build policies for national minorities and integrate the Croatian minority in Serbian society, he said, adding that they also wish to participate in the normalisation and development of Croatian-Serbian relations.
Speaking of Vojvodina Croats’ problems, Žigmanov said they were excluded from decision making, underrepresented in the public sector, and prevented from achieving certain interests and articulating their rights.
He said most of Serbia’s society had a most negative opinion of Croats, and also mentioned social and economic problems as well as the identity of Bunjevci Croats.
Minister Butković said Žigmanov’s election to the Serbian parliament was a big deal and good for the future status of Croats in Serbia. His becoming a member of the government would also mean a lot for them and bi a big step forward, he added.
He also said that Croatia’s cooperation with Vojvodina Croats was very good.
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