The Croatian government on Friday awarded €90,000 to the Croatian minority in Serbia for the construction of the Croatian House in the northern city of Subotica and for staffing purposes of the Croatian National Council (HNV).
An agreement to that effect was signed at HNV headquarters by the state secretary of the Central State Office for Croats Abroad, Zvonko Milas, and HNV president Jasna Vojnic. The agreement was signed on the occasion of the national holiday of the Croatian minority in Serbia.
Milas said that by supporting a strategic project of this kind the Croatian government showed that it cared that the Croats in Serbia preserved all aspects of their identity, primarily their language and culture.
Vojnic said that this was a great day for the HNV because it showed that Croatia indeed understood the needs of the Croats in Serbia.
"What we emphasised during our meeting with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic earlier this year is that our Croatian community has great plans, ideas and potential, but that it needs to be strengthened in staffing terms and institutionally developed," Vojnic said.
The allocated funding will be used to build a new building to house all three professional institutions of the Croatian minority under one roof - the Institute for Culture, the Hrvatska Rijec (Croatian Word) newspaper publishing house and the HNV. Two persons will be hired for development projects and one to lead the HNV regional office.
The Croatian minority in Serbia celebrates December 13 as one of its four national holidays, when the HNV held its first electoral convention in 2002. The HNV is the representative body of the ethnic Croats in Serbia, with responsibilities in the areas of education, culture, information and the official use of the Croatian language.