ZAGREB, April 24, 2020 – During a parliamentary debate on the implementation of the constitutional law on ethnic minority rights in 2018 on Friday, SDP lawmaker Gordan Maras and independent MP Mario Vučetić accused MPs Miro Bulj and Hrvoje Zekanović of spreading intolerance and hatred.
Vučetić and Maras said that citizens were fed up with attempts by individuals to parasitise on ethnic minorities and on negative context.
Those who spread intolerance and hatred do not wish good for Croatia, and stupid nationalists are in favour of a model of governing like that in Serbia, they said in response to previous statements made by Bulj and Zekanović.
Bulj, a parliamentary deputy of the MOST party, said that ethnic minorities in Croatia were exercising their rights to a great extent, however, this was not the case with ethnic Croats in Serbia who were, he said, exposed to mobbing.
Bulj raised the question of reciprocity considering the respective minorities in Croatia and Serbia. In that context he recalled that ethnic Serbs have three seats allotted to them in the Sabor, on the other hand there was no allotted seat for Croats in Serbia.
Furthermore, Serbia sets aside one kuna per each member of the ethnic Croat community, while Croatia allocates 37 kuna for each member of the ethnic Serb community, he added.
Zekanović of the Sovereigntists Party, wondered whether the Serb National Council would be included in efforts to take on the burden of the corona crisis considering austerity measures, and in that context he raised the question whether millions of kuna would still be allocated to “that and other associations that spread hate speech.”
He went on to say that although ethnic minorities are a benefit for Croatia’s society, he insisted that it should not be forgotten that members of an ethnic minority took up arms against Croatia 30 years ago.
“We have not heard the leader of that minority offering a sincere apology,” he said accusing the current government of being “a Croat-Serb-Roma coalition.”
The parliamentary deputy of the Czech and Slovak minorities, Vladimir Bilek, responded that minorities should be seen as bridges between Croatia and other countries.
He said that in the past few years, Czechia and Slovakia had provided some 25 million kuna for infrastructure investments in Croatia.
Ante Babić of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) said that Croatia was investing efforts to make sure that the status of ethnic Croats in Serbia could be improved. We would like their status to be improved, however that also depends on the other side, Babić said.
Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica said that in 2018, a total of 173 million kuna was spent on the implementation of the law on ethnic minority rights, 29 million kuna more than in 2017.
More news about national minorities in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.