Risky minority policy of the Government of Serbia

Centre for Development of Civil Society (CDCS) warns that the Government of Serbia still hovers between integration of national minorities into Serbia’s political system and their Serbianization. Schizophrenic character of the ruling party, made up of former radical ultrachauvinist who have succumbed to the inevitability of European integration, is quite visible here.

In Subotica, the progressive Assembly President, Ilija Maravić, announced that Subotica would get a cultural centre that would bear the name of Brana Crnčević, and that they would close the Foundation of Danilo Kiš.

This was opposed by the city board of the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, a coalition partner of Maravić’s Serbian Progressive Party.

Brana Crnčević was one of the leading representatives of war policy in the nineties. Danilo Kiš is a symbol of, not only multiculturalism, but also the European character of Serbia.

At the same time, in the municipality of Bečej, where the ruling coalition is comprised of SNS and SVM, for the first time among the holders of the most important functions there are no Hungarians, although Hungarians make up half the population of the municipality.

Commissioner for Protection of Equality has acted according to the complaint of association of parents who want their children to learn the Romanian language and established that Primary School „Branko Radičević“ from Golubac has not performed interviewing of students to determine whether they want to listen to an elective course in the Romanian language.

Representatives of the Hungarian and Bosniak minority, as the most numerous, are in the Government of Serbia. That does not prevent the government to use a policy of carrot and stick through the aforementioned examples of intimidation or ignoring the rights of minorities.

This is what numerous national minorities undergo. Less numerous are not intimidated, but are corrupted through financial and human resources given to national councils of national minorities.

A detailed analysis of the elections for national minority councils, held in October 2014, has showed ambivalence of minority policy of the Government.1

Within their activities of support to authorities in Serbia, in attempt to achieve the requirements from Articles 23 and 24 of accession negotiations with the European Union, CDCS continues to monitor the situation in terms of respect for minority rights.

At the same time, CDCS finds that these examples raise concern and that they require public attention.

1The analysis is available on the website cdcs.org.rs in Serbian and English.