Croatian-Serbian relations: Solving open issues – Golubić 2012

The fifth, jubilee international scientific conference on Serbian-Croatian relations was held from 31 July to 3 August 2012 in Golubić (Obrovacki), Republic of Croatia.

"Croatian-Serbian relations - resolving open issues"

The scientific meeting “Croatian-Serbian relations – resolving open issues” was held in Golubić, Republic of Croatia. The gathering was organized in the period of 31. July and until 3. August 2012 year

Scientists from Croatia, Serbia, France and the United States of America met at the invitation of the organizers of the meeting, Darka Gavrilović and Janka Veselinović. Political representatives of national minorities in Croatia and Serbia also took part.

The gathering was organized by the Center for History, Democracy and Reconciliation , and the participants gathered to discuss the topic of Serbian-Croatian relations.

Conclusions of scientists from the meeting "Croatian-Serbian relations - resolving open issues"

Scientists believe that in the past two years Croatian-Serbian relations have stagnated. There is a lack of political incentives from both sides that would improve: civil, human and minority rights.

With the change of government in Serbia, parties that have no positive achievements in relations with minorities came to power. The political parties of Serbs in Croatia and Croats in Serbia went into opposition. In Croatia, a coalition is in power that does not find the right procedures in running the country. The Croatian Democratic Union is positioning itself again where it was before the arrival of Ivo Sanader. In such circumstances, it is difficult to expect positive developments in the resolution of open issues between Croatia and Serbia.

All of the above complicates the position of the Croatian national community in Vojvodina. She is still faced with the lack of school textbooks and the strengthening of the Bunjevac national identity by the state. This directly leads to the disintegration of the Croatian national identity in that area.

Also, Serbia should make changes to the electoral law regarding minorities. In this way, the Croats would be enabled to equalize their political position with the position of the Serbs in Croatia.

The aforementioned changes on the political scene in Croatia and Serbia could also affect the issue of private property and social housing of Serbs in Croatia. Their problems should be solved as soon as possible. The solution lies in enabling Serbs to buy apartments under more favorable conditions or, in case of impossibility to return the property, to give them apartments of adequate value. Those present also emphasized the necessity of changing the degrading position of people whose apartments were taken away for the better. Thus, it was concluded that the resolution of the issue return and purchase of apartments and property is one of the key issues between Croatia and Serbia.

A big problem in solving open questions is the frequent relativization of crimes. In this way, they try to equate the crimes committed against the victims (civilian and innocent population) with the crimes committed against the victims (war participants).

Such relativization of the past serves only daily political purposes. It favors the media discourse that divinizes the nineties of the last century, which is politically-mythologically and nationally biased, and thus creates a bad climate in Serbian-Croatian relations.

In addition to unbiased works from history, political science, sociology and law, the work on solving open issues between Croatia and Serbia should include analyzes derived from demographic data from censuses in Croatia and Serbia. Based on that, analyze the perspectives of the relationship between the two countries.

At all costs , avoid any of the two minorities being instrumentalized by the home state in the future. We should not follow negative but positive examples in solving minority issues.

It is necessary for the Croatian scientific community to approach the objective presentation of the problems of Serbs in Croatia and for the scientific community in Serbia to act in the same way in relation to the Croats in that country.

That in the field of science and economy, which are also an important segment of the survival of both communities, insist on comparative analyzes that will objectively look at the position of the two minorities in the neighboring countries.

To take care of the economic progress of both communities not only through state institutions but also in the form of cooperation on international projects. This would encourage the comparative development of the economy with the strengthening of civil society through the stimulation of the economy and the strengthening of education.

The scientists proposed to the new governments in Croatia and Serbia to continue solving all open issues between Croatia and Serbia. At the same time, respecting the achieved minority rights as well as working on their improvement.

Politicians' conclusions from the meeting "Croatian-Serbian relations - resolving open issues"

dr. Milorad Pupovac , president Serbian National Council , vice president Independent Democratic Serbian Party and representative in the Croatian Parliament, Dragan Crnogorac , president of the Joint Council of Municipalities i Petar Kuntić, president Democratic Union of Croats of Vojvodina i Slaven Bačić , president The Croatian National Council in Serbia met as part of the meeting Croatian-Serbian relations and in an exhaustive discussion exchanged opinions on position of Croats in Serbia and position of Serbs in Croatia.

It was discussed on cooperation between Croatia and Serbia in matters of minority protection and future cooperation between the institutions of Serbs in Croatia and Croats in Serbia.

As a result of that discussion, the following conclusions were adopted:

  • invite the highest representatives of the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Serbia to continue improving relations and cooperation between the two countries. They express their willingness to contribute to it themselves, as before;
  • the stagnation in the cooperation between Croatia and Serbia in matters of the protection of the rights of national minorities, especially the Agreement on the Protection of the Rights of National Minorities, needs to be removed as soon as possible and that cooperation strengthened;
  • the property and legal issues of the institutions of the Croatian community in Serbia and the Serbs in Croatia must be resolved as soon as possible in order to have more assumptions for independent and successful work.

They agree that they will develop mutual cooperation and in this sense they will meet at a joint meeting in Zagreb this fall.

Scientific papers from the conference "Croatian-Serbian relations - solving open questions" in PDF format:

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