Saturday, 18 December 2021

Serbian Croat Minority Celebrates Its Holiday, SNV Supports It

ZAGREB, 18 Dec, 2021 - The Croat minority in Serbia faces many challenges but it has been making significant achievements and perseveres in protecting its unity, Croat National Council (HNV) head Jasna Vojnić said in Subotica, in the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina, on Friday. 

The HNV on Friday marked the day of the establishment of the first HNV, a holiday of the Croat minority in Serbia.

"The house where Count (Josip) Jelačić was born has been bought and is being renovated, offices have been secured to house the association of Croats in Belgrade, construction work on Croatian House has begun, the first crèche has been opened..." Vojnić said, speaking of the results of the current HNV.

Another, invisible achievement is the preserved unity among Croats in Serbia and their representatives becoming credible partners to the state institutions in Croatia, she added.

The event in Subotica was also attended by the deputy head of the Serb National Council (SNV), Croatian member of parliament Dragana Jeckov, who said that the Croat and Serb minorities shared many problems.

"When Croats in Serbia are attacked, Serbs in Croatia feel it very much and, I am sure, vice versa," she said.

"To all those who are not willing to give a helping hand to promote relations - stop and let us minorities live normally," she said.

The envoy of the Croatian prime minister, Milan Bošnjak, commended the ethnic Croat community's achievements and positive steps made by the Serbian authorities, but also warned of situations that make life for the Croat minority more difficult and harm bilateral relations.

In that context he mentioned the decision by the Subotica town government to declare the Bunjevci Ikavian dialect "an official non-Croatian language" and the fact that the issue of representation of Croats in the Serbian parliament had not been resolved yet.

"We look forward to the moment when a Croat will be elected to the Serbian parliament in a separate constituency," Bošnjak said.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, 4 September 2021

Round Table on Vojvodina Croats Held in Osijek

ZAGREB, 4 Sept, 2021 - The biggest challenges faced by the ethnic Croats in Serbia are exclusion from decision making and the policy of ignoring or denying crimes committed against them in the 1990s, a round table on the Croats in Serbia's Vojvodina province was told in the eastern Croatian city of Osijek on Saturday.

The fact that the Croats in Serbia are still excluded from decision-making processes raises a number of concerns because they cannot deal with their problems institutionally, said Tomislav Žigmanov, director of the Culture Institute of Vojvodina Croats. The needs and interests of the Croat community are instead addressed ad hoc, he added.

The authorities in Serbia still ignore or deny the crimes committed against Vojvodina Croats in 1990s, notably the fact that "they were the victims of ethic violence, persecution and murder, and that 30 years on there is still no act or monument commemorating the most tragic period for the Vojvodina Croats," Žigmanov said.

He also warned of the very strong state interventionism in the identity dispute over the Bunjevci community and their being part of the Croatian people, which he said is a scientific truth.

"Unfortunately, we do not have enough power to oppose this, and we expect Croatia to continue asserting its interests when it comes to our cultural heritage," Žigmanov said.

Zvonko Milas, state secretary at the Central State Office for Croats Abroad, said that the biggest problem for the Croats was that Serbian institutions have still not accepted what had happened in the past, "all the crimes against Croats, terrorism, killings and the departure of tens of thousands of Croats from those areas."

The Croatian government and the Central State Office will be partners in raising public awareness both in Serbia and in Croatia, where people should also know what our ethnic kin went through and what they need today, Milas said.

The deputy head of Osijek-Baranja County, Mato Lukić, said that about 70 percent of Croats had moved out of Serbia in the last 50 years, and that the majority of Vojvodina Croats had been expelled.

"The Croats in Vojvodina are often stigmatised, which is one the reasons for their departure," Lukić said.

Lukić said that there would be a population census in Serbia next year and that it would be good if the Croats identified themselves as Croats. He said that there were reports indicating that some of them did not want to identify themselves as Croats in order to avoid possible problems.

For daily news on Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Vojvodina PM Says Another Crossing to be Opened on Serbia-Croatia Border

ZAGREB, 16 Aug 2021 - The prime minister of Serbia's northern province of Vojvodina, Igor Mirović, has said that conditions have been created to open a new border crossing between Serbia and Croatia to relieve some of the traffic pressure on the Zagreb-Belgrade highway.

"We have finished construction work on a new road, running from Jamena in Šid to the village of Račinovci in Croatia's territory. We have created conditions for another border crossing to be opened, which will be particularly important for citizens who want to avoid queuing at the Batrovci border crossing," Mirović said in a Twitter post on Sunday.

The Bajakovo-Batrovci border crossing is the busiest crossing on the border between Serbia and Croatia, particularly during the summer, when hundreds of thousands of people travel along the Zagreb-Belgrade highway on their way from Central and Western Europe to Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, North Macedonia, Kosovo, and Albania.

Apart from that border crossing, there are seven other crossings on the Croatian-Serbian border - Bezdan-Batina, Bogojevo-Erdut, Bačka Palanka-Ilok, Neštin-Ilok, Šid-Tovarnik, Sot-Principovac 1 and Ljuba-Principovac 2.

For more, follow our travel section.

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, 29 January 2021

Croats in Vojvodina Raise Over €50,000 in Aid for Earthquake Victims in Croatia

ZAGREB, 29 January, 2021 - The Catholic churches in the Subotica diocese in the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina have raised about €40,000 in aid for earthquake-devastated areas of central Croatia, and another €11,000 has been raised through the Croatian National Council.

The Bishop of Subotica, Slavko Večerin, said in his message to the faithful that a sum of €40,108 would be presented to the Sisak Diocesan Caritas. The fund-raising campaign began on 10 January.

The Croatian National Council in Serbia, acting in cooperation with the Democratic Alliance of Croats in Vojvodina (DSHV), has raised about  €11,000 since 30 December and will continue the fund-raising campaign.

A magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck the Banovina region of central Croatia on 29 December 2020, killing seven people and causing extensive damage to property.

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Rijeka and Serbia’s Vojvodina Sign Cooperation Agreement

ZAGREB, October 5, 2019 - The Chamber of Commerce of the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina and the County Chamber of Commerce of the northern Croatian coastal city of Rijeka signed a cooperation agreement in Novi Sad on Friday, Vojvodina television said.

The agreement was signed at the 52nd International Tourism Fair by the president of the Chamber of Commerce of Vojvodina, Boško Vučurević, and the president of the County Chamber of Commerce of Rijeka, Vidoje Vujić.

"The agreement aims to improve cooperation in the economic area, with emphasis on food, wine and health tourism," Vučurević said, adding that the two chambers would intensify their cooperation in the coming period.

He announced joint efforts by the chambers of commerce of Vojvodina and Rijeka and the Hungarian association of towns to boost health and spa tourism.

Vujić said that Rijeka would be the European Capital of Culture in 2020 and Novi Sad in 2021.

"Novi Sad and Rijeka are twin cities. We have intense cooperation with many scientists, every year we exchange several business delegations, and we think the time has come for the two chambers to provide greater logistical support and pave the way for cooperation. The closer the cooperation between businesses, the better it will be for science, culture, education and everyone else," Vujić said.

He particularly highlighted the potential of hunting tourism and agriculture and the need to preserve villages and develop rural areas, citing traditional farms in Vojvodina as an example of good practice.

More Rijeka news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

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

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Croats in Vojvodina Worried About Hate Speech in Serbian Media

The Democratic Alliance of Croats in Vojvodina expressed its concern over the status of Croats in the Serbia’s province.