Saturday, 26 June 2021

Construction of Croatian House in Subotica Begins

ZAGREB, 26 June 2021 - The construction of the Croatian House in the northern Serbian city of Subotica has begun, the Croatian National Council (HNV) announced on Friday.

The realisation of this largest infrastructure project of the Croatian minority in Serbia, which is financially supported by the Croatian government, began two months after the laying of the foundation stone. The construction is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

The Croatian House will be home to the only three professional institutions of the Croats in Serbia. It is the result of joint efforts by the Croatian government, the Croatian State Office for Croats Abroad, and the Croatian minority in Serbia.

The start of the construction work coincided with a holiday of the Croatian community in Serbia and was attended by a representative of the State Office for Croats Abroad, Milan Bošnjak.

For more news about culture in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 6 March 2021

Minority Leaders Push for Introducing Croatian as Official Language in Vojvodina

ZAGREB, 6 March, 2021 - The Croatian National Council (HNV) leader Jasna Vojnić has sent a proposal to Serbia's President Aleksandar Vučić that the language of the ethnic Croatian minority should be recognised as an official language in the whole territory of the northern province of Vojvodina.

The HNV web portal reported on Friday evening about this initiative launched by the leadership of ethnic Croats in Serbia in response to the plans of the local authorities in the northern Vojvodina city of Subotica to approve the official use of the Bunjevački vernacular spoken by members of a local community who identify themselves as non-Croat Bunjevci.

Under the current law, local government units must grant the official use of an ethnic minority's language and script if that minority accounts for at least 15% of the local population. According to the 2011 census, 13,553 citizens, or 9.57% of Subotica residents, identify themselves as Bunjevci.

Despite the fact that the size of the Bunjevci community did not reach the 15% share in the population requirement and despite the fact that this vernacular does not have a status of a language according to linguistic standards, Subotica Mayor Stevan Bakić of Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić's Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) moved a proposal to amend the city's statute to introduce the Bunjevac dialect and script as an official language.

The HNV leader Vojnić says that being encouraged by this example of such positive discrimination which is applied in the case of the Bunjevci community, the Croatian community "is looking forward to future initiatives of local office-holders to help minorities to exercise similar rights in settlements where ethnic Croats live."

In this context she recalls that in the city of Sombor, Croats make up 8.39% of the local population, and  in the municipalities of Apatin and Bač 10.42% and 8.39% respectively. Therefore, following the precedent of the positive discrimination towards Subotica non-Croat Bunjevci, Vojnić expects Serbia's authorities to apply such positive discrimination rules in the whole of Vojvodina towards ethnic Croats.

Another ethnic Croat leader Tomislav Žigmanov recently warned that the relevant Slavic or comparative linguistics literature does not call the Bunjevac dialect a language.

Croatia's Ambassador to Serbia, Hidajet Biščević, has said in an interview with Hrvatska Riječ that the initiative fort the recognition of the Bunjevci vernacular as an official language is legally unfounded and that it also contains undesirable negative political and social consequences for the interests of the Croat ethnic minority in Serbia.

The diplomat also said that the initiative is contrary to the agreement between Croatia and Serbia on the mutual protection of ethnic minorities.

In the meantime Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Ministry sent a protest note through its embassy.

"The Bunjevci dialect is not a language. It belongs to the new Stokavian-Ikavian dialect, it is one of the dialects of the Croatian language. The Bunjevci people in Hungary are also a sub-ethnic group who call their language Croatian," Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said at  news conference last Thursday, explaining the reasons for the protest note.

Around 16,000 Bunjevci who deny their Croatian origins live in the north of the Bačka region. They are represented by the Bunjevci National Council, whose leaders are close to the  Vučić's SNS party.

The remaining majority of the Bunjevci, including the leadership of the Vojvodina Croats, formally identify themselves as Bunjevci Croats.

In the 2011 census, nearly 58,000 people in Serbia identified themselves as Croats.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Football Game Between Croatian and Serbian Minorities to be held in Vojvodina

In the village of Tavankut, near the city of Subotica in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina in Serbia, a football match will be played between the Serbian minorities of Croatia and the Croatian minorities of Serbia, said the president of the Association of Croatian Minorities in Serbia, Petar Kuntić, on Thursday, reports on May 2, 2019. The game will be played on June 15, 2019. 

The meeting, with the full support of the Croatian and Serbian Football Federations, is organized by the Croatian National Council (HNV), the Joint Council of Municipalities and the Serbian National Council in Croatia, and details of the meeting were recently agreed in Belgrade at the headquarters of the Football Federation of Serbia.

“Holding this football match will also be a chance for the political representatives of Croats in Serbia and Serbians in Croatia to meet, with the goal being their cooperation in the field of sport, in order to create better relations between the two countries. By doing it this way, we believe, it will show that members of both national minorities want to be a true bridge of cooperation and give their contribution to further progress of relations between Serbia and Croatia,” said the leadership of the Croatian minority in Serbia.

Negotiations for the match were held in Belgrade and were conducted on behalf of the Croatian minority by President of the Democratic Alliance of Croats in Vojvodina, Tomislav Žigmanov, HNV Councilor Ivan Budimčević, and Petar Kuntić.

The game between the two minorities will be played exactly three years after the first match in Vukovar when the Croats from Vojvodina won 4:0.

Representatives of Serbian and Croatian Minorities are expected to attend the football meeting, including SDSS President Milorad Pupovac.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page