5. Costs: What does it cost in terms of money, time and government resources to police the country’s language restrictions?
Updated (October 2005)
THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE PUBLISHED A REPORT ON MINORITY LANGUAGES IN CROATIA
Through a report issued on September 8, 2005 the Council of Europe (CoE) expressed concern about the decreasing number of citizens who speak minority languages in Croatia.
Even though currently the Croatian citizens tend to be more tolerant of minority languages, Croatia as a whole does not show enough respect for them (a special problem with the Serbian language).
The report welcomes new laws which protect linguistic minorities in Croatia; however, it also points out that some provisions may still lead to restrictions incompatible with the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.
The recommendations endorsed by the Committee of Ministers of the CoE advise Croatian authorities to promote awareness and tolerance towards minority languages and the cultures they represent so they could be considered an integral part of the Croatian heritage.
Pre-school education in the Ruthenian and Ukrainian languages and the teaching of Ruthenian, Slovak and Ukrainian at least at primary and secondary level should be supported as well. According to the report, Croatia should develop a coherent strategy in the field of teacher training and provide adequate teaching materials for minority language education.
Furthermore the Croatian government was advised to take necessary measures to ensure that people can use regional or minority languages in relations with the State administration and that this right is fully implemented in practice. The report also calls for all relevant place names to be used bilingually and to increase the presence of minority languages on television and radio.
Source: Mercator News, September 2005, http://www.ciemen.org/mercator/index-gb.htm
Updated (April 2007)
THE COUNCIL FOR NATIONAL MINORITIES ADOPTS THE 2007 WORK PROGRAM
The Council for National Minorities has adopted the 2007 Work Program and the report on the spending of budgetary funds for the activities of the national minorities.
President of the Council, Aleksandar Tolnauer, said that the government had increased funds for this year’s minority cultural programs by 18 percent to about 35 million Kuna in total. He also added that the government had recognized the contribution of non-governmental organizations and minority associations to the preservation of the cultural identity of the national minorities and their integration into Croatian society, particularly in the context of the country’s efforts to join the European Union.
Mr. Tolnauer noted that the funds would be increased according to the actual needs and programmes of national minorities, particularly for the Serb and Bosniak minorities.
Since some irregularities had been observed in the work of 17 out of 73 associations, they should be removed in the course of the first quarter of the year.
Council member, Zdenka Cuhnil, said it was necessary to analyze if and to what extent progress had been made regarding minority rights relating to education, bilingualism, information and the use of minority symbols. Her views were supported by other council members.
Source: Government of the Croatian Republic, News – February 22, 2007