Representation of Croats in Serbian Institution Discussed in Belgrade

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, January 31, 2018 – Croatia finds it essential that the Croat community in Serbia exercise the same rights which ethnic Serbs enjoy in Croatia, and this means that local Croats should be entitled to having deputies at the local level of authority, at the provincial level and at the state level, the state secretary of the Zagreb-based Office for Croats Abroad, Zvonko Milas, said in Belgrade on Tuesday.

I expect headway to be made in that direction, said Milas, who co-chaired the Croatia-Serbia inter-governmental commission for respective minorities that began its two-day meeting in Belgrade today. He welcomed the meeting as a restoration of dialogue of the two countries about issues burdening the ethnic minorities after a three-year hiatus.

“I expect that we will make steps conducive to the relaxation of the bilateral relations to the benefit of the respective minorities living in Serbia and Croatia,” Milas said, expressing hope that the commission would meet every year in the future in a bid to efficiently solve the outstanding issues.

“It is our aim to promote the protection of minorities’ rights in which Croatia has set high standards, as evidenced by the acknowledgement of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) of Croatia and Hungary as countries that set examples for the protection of minorities’ rights in the European Union,” Milas said.

At the start of the meeting in Belgrade, Serbian official Ivan Bošnjak said that the commission would discuss all the open issues facing ethnic minorities in both countries. He said that within an action plan envisaged by the Chapter 23 in the accession negotiations with the European Union, Serbia would work on amending the pertaining legislation and thus enable Croats to be represented in the legislative and executive branches of power in Serbia.

Milas recalled that the question of political representation “is clearly defined also by the bilateral agreements, and there is the solution.”

“We expect this solution to be implemented soon,” Milas responded.


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