Croatian President promises support to ethnic Croats outside Croatia

Croatian President promises support to ethnic Croats outside Croatia

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic on Friday said that Croatia’s institutions should provide Croatian minorities in other countries with full support and underscored that “young people in our minority communities have a special role to play in the preservation of Croatian roots, continuation of tradition and connections with the Homeland..”

The head of state today received representatives of Croatian minorities participating in the 22nd Forum of National Minorities, which was organised in Zagreb by the Croatian Heritage Foundation under the motto “Forum Youth in Croatian Minority Communities – The Present and Future Prospects,”

According to a press release from the office of the Croatian president “during the meeting, the representatives of the Croatian minorities acquainted the President with the position and problems they encounter, with special emphasis on education in the Croatian language in neighbouring countries.”

Before the meeting, the acting head of the Croatian Heritage Foundation Mirjana Piskulic told the press that they would request the president to help strengthen cooperation between Croatian educational institutions and ethnic Croat communities and they would also request her to mediate in raising the question why ethnic Croats in Slovenia and Macedonia had not yet been recognised as a minority and also in efforts to settle problems concerning the imposing of the Bunjevac identity on Croats in Serbia.

About 16,500 Bunjevci in Serbia, who are gathered around the Bunjevci National Council, deny their Croatian origins, claiming they are an autochthonous ethnic group, while most of the Bunjevci in the Backa region identify themselves as Croats.

As for Croats in Slovenia, its representative Ivan Botteri said that Slovenia officially recognised only ethnic Hungarians and ethnic Italians as minorities, whose respective communities include 12,000 members, while there were as many as 40,000 ethnic Croats.

Botteri believes that Slovenia does not see its political interest in recognising the ethnic Croat minority./IBNA