“Ambassador Bišćević’s behaviour is scandalous, more than scandalous,” Bulj said in Parliament, accusing the ambassador of “harassing Croatian political representatives, obviously on the foreign minister’s and the prime minister’s orders.”
Pavliček accused Bišćević of “working on the further fragmentation of the Croatian community” in Serbia and attacking its leaders, notably Tomislav Žigmanov, the head of the Democratic Alliance of Croats in Vojvodina (DSHV).
“He is harassing a man who stood up against the regime of Aleksandar Vučić,” Bulj said, criticising the Croatian government for leaving the Croats in Vojvodina on their own and without a single representative in the Serbian National Assembly.
Bulj said that Bišćević was “demonising” Žigmanov because “he is not sucking up to Vučić”, and because he joined a coalition of parties from Vojvodina for Sunday’s general election.
“It seems he would have been more acceptable had he sided with Vučić’s party and the Chetnik movement,” Bulj said.
Both Bulj and Pavliček noted that unlike the Croats in Serbia, the Serb minority in Croatia has three guaranteed seats in the national parliament, about 40 guaranteed mayoral positions and about 10 deputy county prefect positions.
“There are about 58,000 Croats in Serbia today. Their number in the last 30 years has been halved in a country where there was no war and where the Croats did not rise up in an armed rebellion”, Pavliček said, adding that “the Croats are second-class citizens in Serbia today.”
Pavliček said that three weeks ago all the heads of Croatian-language primary schools in Vojvodina had been summoned by the police for interviews over “discrimination against children,” because all children attending Croatian-language classes had received free textbooks, unlike children attending classes in Serbian.
“Croatian diplomacy did not react to this,” Pavliček said, blaming it for the poor status of the Croats in Vojvodina.
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